Israel is working to help the people of Gaza. Other countries claim to be doing the same but, for the most part, have not lived up to their commitments.
With the cessation of violence between Israel and Hamas after Operation Protective Edge, Israel has been supportive of initiatives to rehabilitate the Gaza Strip, with the understanding that a better life can help steer potential terrorists away from violence.
The IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) approved plans for the establishing of a new Coca-Cola plant in Gaza, and the first nine trucks with equipment for the initial production line entered the Strip on Monday.
The factory, a $20-million investment, is slated to operate in full capacity in three years, providing some 1,000 sorely needed jobs to the residents.
The venture was approved before the summer war and is now receiving a further boost.
Arab Countries Renege on Pledges
In the meantime, many countries around the world had pledged to lend support for Gaza’s rehabilitation but have not followed up on their promises, especially the Arab countries.
Reuters reports that two months have passed since donors pledged $5.4 billion to help rebuild Gaza, but barely two percent of the money has been transferred.
A conference in Cairo focusing on the issue was described as a success. Qatar, Hamas’ primary benefactor, promised $1 billion; Saudi Arabia pledged $500 million; Turkey and the United Arab Emirates each pledged $200 million, and the United States and European Union declared a combined $780-million support package in various forms of assistance.
Reuters quotes the UN and other officials as saying that only a rough sum of $100 million has been received thus far.
“We have received funding and pledges of approximately $100 million for shelter and repair,” Robert Turner, director of operations for the UN’s Relief and Works Agency in Gaza (UNRWA), told Reuters. “That money will be largely finished in January 2015. We have a shortfall [for shelter and homes] of $620 million, and we are going to run out right in the hardest part of winter.”
Reuters quotes other officials who say that the Arab countries have been among the worst at following through with their commitments. “The Arab countries haven’t paid anything until now,” Mufeed al-Hasayna, the Palestinian housing minister, said this month. “The Europeans, just a few million; maybe something from the Swedes.”
Reuters points out that it is difficult to transfer money to Gaza since Hamas, an Islamist terror organization which is notoriously corrupt, rules the Strip. The money was supposed to go to the Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA), which had planned to resume responsibility in Gaza and administer the money. That has not yet happened.
By: United with Israel Staff
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