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UN urges donors to honour pledges to rebuild Gaza

UNRWA has expressed deep concerns that none of the $5.4bn in pledged aid has arrived
According to the UN, 20,000 homes were completely destroyed during Operation Protective Edge in July-August 2014 (AFP)

The United Nations and the Arab League presented an urgent appeal to donor countries to fulfil their promises to provide assistance in the rebuilding of Gaza’s infrastructure after Israel’s deadly attack in July-August 2014.

The Israeli offensive termed “Operation Protective Edge” resulted in the killing of 2,100 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians.

Sixty-six Israeli soldiers were killed, as well as six civilians on the Israeli side.

According to Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon, the direct cost of the 50-day military offensive that was launched on 8 July was more than $2.5bn (1.9bn euros).

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby drafted a joint statement, where they conveyed "deep concern" regarding the slow pace of reconstruction of the battered infrastructure of Gaza.

In the statement, the two organisations said, “They urgently appeal to donors to honour and disburse as soon as possible their financial commitments made at the October 2014 Cairo Conference. This support should also include funding for UN agencies that are carrying out vital operations in Gaza, in order to prevent a further deterioration in the already dire humanitarian situation.”

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, a branch that serves Palestinian refugees, said it needs $720m to help 96,000 families who lost their homes during the 51-day assault. UN estimates show that nearly 20,000 houses were completely destroyed and rendered uninhabitable, and 500,000 people were displaced. UNRWA further expressed concerns that none of the $5.4bn in pledged aid had arrived.

Many countries presented significant pledges, from the United States’ pledge of $212m to Qatar’s pledge of one billion dollars.

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