A new report by a group of international aid organizations criticized donors for failing to follow through on their pledges for the rebuilding of Gaza after last summer’s war there.
According to a report from the Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA), an umbrella group of 46 NGOs, only 26.8 percent of the $5.4 billion pledged by international donors at a conference in Cairo last October has been delivered so far.
“The promising speeches at the donor conference have turned into empty words,” Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International, said in a statement.
The report also called for a “new approach” that addresses the underlying causes of the Gaza war in order to prevent the next such conflict, such as holding all parties to accountable for “violations” of international law.
While the report strongly criticized Israel’s blockade on Gaza as a contributor to preventing reconstruction, it also called on Egypt to reopen its border crossing with Gaza.
Israel, however, has taken a number of steps in recent weeks to ease restrictions on Gaza-restrictions the Jewish state maintains to prevent Hamas from rebuilding its rocket arsenal and terror tunnels. Israel recently allowed Gazans to export hundreds of tons of produce into Israel for the first time in nearly a decade, while easing restrictions on imports of construction materials such as cement into Gaza.
At the same time, the aid groups’ report was extremely critical of the ongoing Palestinian split between the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas-controlled Gaza, saying that the split has “enormous negative impact on the delivery of aid and services in Gaza.”
According to AIDA, not a single one of the 19,000 homes destroyed in the Gaza conflict has been rebuilt, with 100,000 people still homeless or in makeshift camps and schools.