U.S. to offer Palestinians 900 million dollars: spokesman
The United States will pledge 900 million U.S. dollars for the Palestinians to shore up the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and help rebuild the Gaza Strip, U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood said here on Sunday.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will made the pledge at an international donors' conference scheduled for March 2 in the Egyptian Red Sea resort, Wood told reporters.
Wood said only a third of the funding, or 300 million dollars, is earmarked for the reconstruction of Gaza which was hit hard during a 22-day Israeli military operation that killed more than 1,300 Palestinians and wounded 5,500 others.
The 300-million-dollar donation to help rebuild the Hamas-ruled Gaza would be channeled via the United Nations and other organizations, said Wood, stressing that "Hamas is not getting any of this money."
Some 200 million dollars will be provided to help cover the PNA budget shortfalls and another 400 million dollars is offered to assist Palestinian economic and institutional reforms, said the spokesman.
Clinton arrived in the Egyptian Red Sea resort late Sunday to attend the international conference for supporting the Palestinian economy and Gaza reconstruction, Xinhua reported.
This is Clinton's first trip to the Middle East as the U.S. secretary of state, during which she will also visit Israel and meet with Palestinian leaders in the West Bank after the Gaza aid conference.
According to UN reports, more than 14,000 homes, 68 government buildings, and 31 offices of nongovernmental organizations were destroyed during the recent Israeli attacks against Gaza.
Acting Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said in an official report that it will request 2.8 billion dollars at the March 2 meeting, which is expected to draw representatives from more than 70 countries and regions along with international organizations.