Sunday, January 18, 2009

Who is Responsible for Rebuilding Gaza?

Salam Fayyad: UN, international proposals for an international committee fail to address Palestinian national needs

Reuters, January 18, 2009 - ....Fayyad and senior Western diplomats said this week European leaders and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had proposed to the Palestinian Authority setting up an interim international committee that would fund and organise aid directed towards reconstruction of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. A senior Western diplomat said the proposal had not been meant as a snub to Abbas. "It is meant to be an interim mechanism because the Authority of Mahmoud Abbas is not in control of Gaza and we wanted to speed up the process of Gaza's reconstruction." he said.

"Abbas told us he would not go to Gaza on the back of an Israeli tank, so we thought this would help him return to Gaza and reassert his control there," the diplomat added.

A senior Abbas aide said the Palestinian president had not asked the West to reinstate him in Gaza.

Fayyad said Abbas's presence in Gaza could be reasserted only by forming a unity government approved by all factions, including Hamas, that would run both the West Bank and Gaza....

Fayyad said an initial assessment of the damages to Gaza's infrastructure by Israel's assault was around $1.5 billion and promised making housing the homeless his priority. He wants reconstruction aid to go through the Palestinian Authority.

"Distinction needs to be made between assistance that is required for humanitarian emergency and aid required for reconstruction ... For reconstruction, it should go through the Palestinian Authority," Fayyad said....

"A new unity government would be the first important step towards full national reconciliation," Fayyad said. "Then let us secure the long-demanded international forces to protect our people and help deal with law and order."

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