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  Monday, October 14, 2019
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Delegates representing some 85 countries and international organizations gathered on Monday
Delegates representing some 85 countries and international organizations gathered on Monday in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh for a conference on the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said the impoverished enclave will need some $2.8 billion in aid to rebuild Gaza following a three-week offensive by Israeli in January which saw some 1,300 Palestinians killed and 5,000 injured.

In his opening speech, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said, "The success of [our] efforts to reconstruct the Gaza Strip depends not only on the amount of funding, but on a number of other important conditions as well," and added "Aid should be the possession of all the Palestinian people in Gaza and not be understood as a military trophy of certain groups."

The conference is being attended by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, as well as another 45 foreign ministers from other countries.

A meeting of members of the Middle East peace Quartet - the EU, Russia, the UN and the U.S. - will also discuss progress on a Palestinian-Israel peace settlement on the sidelines of the donor conference.

Earlier on Sunday Persian Gulf states pledged some $1.64 billion in aid for Gaza during a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council, a trade block comprising Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.

According to the Saudi Arabian Asharq Alawsat newspaper, the Israeli operation completely or partially destroyed over 14,000 homes and about 100 buildings belonging to governmental, international and public organizations. About 600 tons of rubble needs to be cleared. Damage to the Gaza Strip from the Israeli airstrikes and ground operations has been estimated at $1.5 billion.


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