The reconstruction of the Gaza Strip requires far more than $500 million, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said on Wednesday.
“We were hoping to contribute more than this sum,” Sisi said at a panel of the World Youth Forum (WYF) conference in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm e-Sheikh.
In May 2021, Sisi announced that Egypt would allocate $500m. for rebuilding efforts in the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of the 11-day war between Israel and Hamas.
“The Gaza Strip needs more than $500 million, and we wish we could have contributed more [for the reconstruction process],” Sisi said on Wednesday. “I hope that the reconstruction process we promised will end as soon as possible for the sake of our brothers in the Gaza Strip.”
He said that the residents of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, and not foreign workers, should be involved in the reconstruction efforts.
Sisi called on the donor countries to provide financial aid to the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) so that it would be able to fulfill its duties towards the Gaza Strip.
“Our role [in the reconstruction effort] will continue and we urge the donors to never abandon UNRWA,” the Egyptian president said.
Last month, the Egyptian National Committee for the Reconstruction of the Gaza Strip launched the second phase of rebuilding destroyed buildings in the coastal enclave.
The first phase, which started shortly after the war, saw the removal of debris and rubbles of buildings that were destroyed during the conflict, the committee said. The second phase includes the implementation of six projects in residential areas and the establishment of two bridges, the committee added.
Earlier this week, Sisi met in Sharm e-Sheikh with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and discussed with him ways of advancing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and Egypt’s reconstruction efforts in the Gaza Strip.
Abbas briefed the Egyptian president on the latest developments related to the Palestinian issue “and the violations of Israeli occupation against the Palestinians, their lands and their Islamic and Christian holy sites,” according to a statement issued by the PA president’s office.
Abbas thanked Sisi for Egypt’s support for the Palestinian issue “at all levels and for its role in supporting the Palestinians’ rights to freedom and independence,” the statement read.
Sisi, for his part, emphasized Egypt’s support for the Palestinians and their diplomatic efforts to find a political path that allows for the resumption of peace negotiations with Israel, the statement added.