Palestinians call on world to honour 
pledges to rebuild war-battered Gaza

The Palestinian prime minister has urged international donor nations to honour their pledges to send billions of dollars to help rebuild the Gaza Strip after a devastating 50-day war with Israel, warning that similar promises in the past were broken.

The call from Rami Hamdallah came during a meeting with visiting UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.

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.

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Israel has accused Hamas of using Gaza civilians as human shields and claims the number of militants killed was much higher. At a news conference in Jerusalem, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the UN of being complicit in rocket fire.

Mr Ban did not address Mr 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, Mr Ban called for an easing of a long-standing blockade of the coastal strip.

At a conference in Cairo, donor nations promised to provide $5.4bn (£3.35bn) to the Palestinians, half of which is earmarked for rebuilding. Hamas, the militant group that has run Gaz,a agreed to step aside to allow the Palestinian Authority to begin reconstruction operations.