STOCKHOLM, Sweden, (AP) -World donors pledged $500 million in aid for Palestinians on Friday, including $55 million for a U.N. emergency appeal for humanitarian help, organizers said.
A total of $114 million of the money pledged will go toward humanitarian aid, with the rest going to rebuilding infrastructure and other projects, said Carin Jamtin, Sweden’s aid minister and host of the donors’ conference held in the Swedish capital.
“I would say this is a fantastic result,” she said.
The European Union pledged $64 million, U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland said.
Earlier, a top adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged world donors to help ease a “never-ending” humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip and called on Israel to allow easier access for aid shipments to reach the West Bank.
“Given the constraints imposed on us, the situation continues to deteriorate,” Mohammad Mustafa said.
A United Nations flash appeal went out earlier this year for humanitarian aid, but donations had come up $200 million short before the conference, Egeland said.
“The needs have never been greater in the Palestinian territories than today,” he said at a news conference. “The Palestinians do not want to live on charity; (they) want to have an economy.”
Jamtin said donations not given to the emergency appeal would go to the Red Cross and other aid organizations.
Sweden’s foreign minister, Jan Eliasson, opened the conference with a Swedish pledge of $5 million for humanitarian aid, along with $3 million to rebuild a power plant destroyed earlier this year in an Israeli attack. Sweden said it also will give $6 million to a World Bank fund for Gaza, Eliasson said.
“We have to break the vicious circle of violence,” he said. “The feeling of despair must be replaced by hope.”
The conference came a day after a similar donors’ meeting in Stockholm raised $940 million in early reconstruction aid for Lebanon as it rebuilds from the 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas.