State Department: Clinton to announce $300 million pledge to Gaza

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday will pledge about $300 million in US humanitarian aid for the war-torn Gaza Strip, plus about $600 million in assistance to the Palestinian Authority, a US official said Sunday. State Department spokesman Robert A. Wood told reporters traveling with Clinton Sunday that she would announce the donations at an international pledging conference at this Red Sea resort. The conference is seeking money for Gaza and the Palestinian economy. Obama administration officials had indicated last week that the US was preparing to pledge $900 million in assistance for Gaza, but Wood's description of the plan Sunday indicated that the only portion going directly to rebuilding Gaza was the $300 million. Wood said that while all of the money is subject to approval by Congress, the intent is to provide about $200 million to help the Palestinian Authority shore up a budget shortfall and another $400 million to assist Palestinian institutional reforms and economic development. Wood said some of the $400 million might wind up aiding Gaza, but he said that would depend on the Palestinian Authority.