Egypt to host donor conference for war-hit Gaza

JERUSALEM- Envoys from dozens of countries will gather Sunday for a conference that aims to raise billions of dollars to rebuild conflict-battered Gaza, despite fears of renewed violence and “donor fatigue”.

The United Nations’ Palestinian refugee agency has described the financial needs as “unprecedented” ahead of the Cairo meeting, which follows the Strip’s third war in six years.

But it is unclear how generous the world is willing to be given the intractability of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other priorities in the region such as the fight against jihadists in Syria and Iraq.

About 50 countries will be represented in Cairo for talks that will include UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State John Kerry, 30 foreign ministers and various international monetary and humanitarian bodies.

The Palestinians have called for more than $4 billion (3.2 billion euros) in aid, and the Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA for $1.6 billion.

Other estimates suggest up to $8 billion will be needed to repair damaged infrastructure and homes, and ensure healthcare, education and clean drinking water.

The bloody 50-day conflict between Israel and Gaza militants left almost 2,200 Palestinians dead along with 73 on the Israeli side.

The war, which ended with a ceasefire on August 26, also left 100,000 Gazans homeless.

More than a quarter of the Strip’s population of 1.7 million was displaced.