Palestinian PM urges donors to keep Gaza pledges

The Palestinian Prime Minister on Monday urged international donor nations to honor their pledges to send billions of dollars to help rebuild the Gaza Strip after a devastating 50-day war against Israel, warning that similar promises in the past have come up empty.

Ramallah: The Palestinian Prime Minister on Monday urged international donor nations to honor their pledges to send billions of dollars to help rebuild the Gaza Strip after a devastating 50-day war against Israel, warning that similar promises in the past have come up empty.

The call from Rami Hamdallah came during a meeting with visiting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is in the region to shore up international efforts to rebuild Gaza.

In 50 days of fighting, more than 2,100 Palestinians were killed, most of them civilians, according to the United Nations.

An additional 11,000 people were wounded and some 100,000 people were left homeless. Seventy-two people on the Israeli side were killed, including 66 soldiers.

Israel has accused Hamas of using Gaza civilians as human shields and claims the number of militants killed was much higher than the UN figures.

At a news conference with Ban in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the UN of being complicit in rocket fire.

"When rockets were discovered in UN schools, some UN officials handed them back to Hamas, that very same Hamas that was rocketing that very same time Israeli cities and Israeli civilians," Netanyahu said.

Ban did not address Netanyahu's accusations, but Pierre Krahenbuhl, the commissioner of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, which runs the UN schools in Gaza, has "categorically" rejected the Israeli charges.

Instead, Ban thanked Israel for supporting the Gaza reconstruction efforts, and in addition, called for an easing of a longstanding blockade of the coastal strip.

Israel and Egypt imposed the blockade after the Hamas takeover, largely restricting the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza and stifling the local economy. 

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