“We are hopeful that what is rebuilt will not be destroyed again,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said while attending an international aid conference for the Palestinian enclave at the Egyptian resort Sharm el-Sheikh.
Berlin plans to work with Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to make the most effective use of the funds. However, the radical Islamist group Hamas remains in control of Gaza despite the Israeli offensive in December and January. Attacks with homemade rockets by Hamas fighters sparked a massive Israeli retaliation killing up to 1,300 people in Gaza.
Steinmeier said the humanitarian situation remained “extremely difficult” in the small strip of land wedged between Israel and the sea, underscoring the need to redouble efforts to secure the shaky cease-fire and restart direct peace talks. “I hope there’s enough reason on both sides for that,” he said.
The international community is expected to gather more than €2 billion to rebuild Gaza’s infrastructure during the donor conference. The bulk is coming from Saudi Arabia and the United States – which plan to contribute $1 billion and $900 million respectively.