Gwen Ackerman
July 14, 2009 - 12:00am

The World Bank pledged an additional $21.5 million for Palestinian Authority operations in the Gaza Strip, including the reconstruction of areas damaged during an Israeli military offensive in December and January.

The funds will be administered by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s staff under assessment by the bank, which has encouraged donors to channel funds through the Palestinian Authority’s budget and Central Treasury Account.

“These commitments will enable the Palestinian Authority to immediately carry out the Gaza reconstruction program, especially in the fields of housing, agriculture and the economy,” Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told reporters in Ramallah.

The monthlong fighting between Israel and the Islamic militant group Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since ousting troops loyal to Abbas in 2007, left more than 100,000 people displaced, more than 15,000 homes damaged or destroyed, and Gaza’s public infrastructure and utilities devastated.

The transfer of money from international donors, who have pledged about $12 billion to rebuild the West Bank and Gaza Strip economies, is being held up due to the unresolved split between Abbas’s administration and Hamas and the continued Israeli blockade of Gaza, the World Bank said in an e-mailed report today.

“The World Bank is committed to helping the people of Gaza rebuild their home,” Dina Abu-Ghaida, World Bank acting country director for the West Bank and Gaza, said in the statement. “This grant is the first product of an effort to enable the efficient channeling of recovery and reconstruction aid, despite the extreme limitations on entry into Gaza currently in place.”

The bank also announced a $12 million grant to support a solid-waste management project in the southern West Bank.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017