Photo: Flash90

Egypt offers $500 million to rebuild Gaza

Egypt has announced its intention to allocate $500 million for rebuilding efforts in Gaza.

The Palestinian enclave has been hard hit by retaliatory IDF strikes in response to ongoing rocket barrages by the Strip’s Hamas rulers and other terror groups including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) against Israel.

Some 450 buildings in Gaza have been destroyed or badly damaged in fighting according to estimates by the United Nations, which also says it is housing 47,000 displaced Palestinians at its schools in the Strip.

Cairo’s announcement aid to Gaza followed a trilateral meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi held with French President Emmanuel Macron and Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Paris, focused on international attempts toward a ceasefire of what Israel refers to as the Operation Guardian of the Walls conflict.

“Overall, the 3 countries agreed on 3 simple elements: the shooting must stop, the time has come for a ceasefire, the UN Security Council must take up the subject and we have also called for a vote on a resolution on the subject,” the French presidency said in a statement after the talks.

The statement added that Cairo, Paris and Amman had also agreed to launch a humanitarian initiative for the civilian population of Gaza in conjunction with the UN.

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh thanked Sisi for his contribution and Egypt’s mediation efforts, which he said reflects the country’s “national commitment to the Palestinian cause.”

Cairo and Gaza City are working to improve ties.

Egypt joined Israel in the imposition of a blockade on the Strip after the Islamist Hamas terror faction seized control of Gaza in a bloody 2007 internecine war with the Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Hamas is also linked to the Muslim Brotherhood – banned as a terrorist organization in Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Russia. The main state sponsors of the Muslim Brotherhood are Turkey and Qatar.

Relations with Hamas were further strained after Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Mursi was ousted and replaced as Egyptian President in 2013 by a military coup led by then- Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces General Sisi.

Haniyeh has since 2017 visited Cairo in one of the Arab Republic’s many attempts to mediate a reconciliation between Hamas and its bitter Fatah rival, which rules Palestinian territories in the West Bank.