UPDATED ON: Monday, March 02, 2009 11:21 Mecca time, 08:21 GMT News Middle East Donors discuss rebuilding Gaza Conditions will be attached to the $300m Hillary Clinton is set to hand over for Gaza [AFP] International donors meeting in Egypt are expected to pledge billions of dollars to rebuild the Gaza Strip after it was battered during Israel's 22-day offensive earlier this year.
Ahead of Tuesday's conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, the US state department announced that Washington would contribute $300m to meet "urgent" humanitarian needs in Gaza. Up to 75 countries and international organisations are being asked to fund a $2.8bn reconstruction plan designed by Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian prime minister, who wants a large part of the money to be channelled through the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority. It remains unclear though how the planned reconstruction of Gaza will be undertaken. The territory is controlled by Hamas and Israel has said it will refuse to approve projects that could benefit the group. Hamas took full control of Gaza in June 2007 after driving out security forces loyal to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president and leader of the rival Fatah group. Israel's blockade of the territory continues to prevent supplies, including construction materials, from crossing into Gaza. Hamas, which has not been invited to the conference in Egypt and is labelled a "terrorist" group by the US and the EU, has prepared its own reconstruction plan. Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas official, said that he welcomed efforts to address the needs of the Gazans. "We hope this conference ... will be fruitful in making positive steps, quickly and effectively, to rebuild Gaza without politicisation and preconditions that could complicate or create obstacles," he said. 'Humanitarian concern' Marc Gopin, from the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, told Al Jazeera that the donors' conference was "an attempt to demonstrate humanitarian concern". In depth Analysis and features from Gaza after the war But, he said, there was "no real addressing of the political fallout in the long run, as to whether there's going to be reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas and whether in fact this aid can really ever get in". "They can't even get in humanitarian aid at this point because the [Israeli] blockade is so severe." Hillary Clinton, on her first visit to the Middle East since becoming the US secretary of state, said on Friday that the US aid, which will include another $600m for the Palestinian Authority, would depend on how well the Palestinians meet conditions imposed by the so-called Quartet of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia. "I will be announcing a commitment to a significant aid package, but it will only be spent if we determine that our goals can be furthered rather than undermined or subverted," she told Voice of America radio. Robert Wood, a spokesman for the US state department, said the $300m would be funnelled through the UN and other organisations. "Hamas is not getting any of this money," he told reporters. 'More of the same' Saree Makdisi, the author of Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation, told Al Jazeera that "it sure looks like more of the same" US policy and that there was no difference between Clinton's stance and that of Condoleezza Rice, her predecessor. "The most surprising thing isn't that there's no difference, it's that there's no difference in spite of the fact that the [incoming] Israeli government has taken an even more belligerent stand" against the Palestinians and on honouring international law, he said. More than 1,300 Palestinians, including women and children, died during the war on Gaza, which Israel launched with the stated aim of preventing rocket fire from fighters based in the coastal territory. At least 13 Israelis, three of them civilians, were also killed. However, rocket fire has continued and Ehud Olmert, the outgoing Israeli prime minister, on Sunday vowed a "painful" response if the attacks on southern Israel did not stop. The rockets "will be answered with a painful, harsh, strong and uncompromising response from the security forces", he said at the start of a weekly cabinet meeting. Source: Al Jazeera and agencies --------------- Jusfiq Hadjar gelar Sutan Maradjo Lelo Allah yang disembah orang Islam tipikal dan yang digambarkan oleh al-Mushaf itu dungu, buas, kejam, keji, ganas, zalim lagi biadab hanyalah Allah fiktif.