After Israel's war against Gaza militants in 2014, Arab countries led the way in pledging reconstruction aid to the devastated seaside enclave. But a new report released Monday by the World Bank shows that some Arab donors have delivered only a small fraction of what was promised. The World Bank released its report a day before a gathering of international donor countries in Brussels, sending the meeting a stark message that donations are well behind the schedule set when pledges were made at an international conference in October 2014.
"Actual disbursements fall short of planned disbursements by around $1.3 billion, and hence, donors are urged to accelerate the disbursement of funds," the report said. If donor funding continues at the current pace, it added, pledges are expected to be complete by mid-2019, some two years behind schedule. Israel launched the war in July 2014. During 50 days of fighting, more than 2,200 Palestinians were killed, over half of them civilians, according to U.N. and Palestinian estimates.
Seventy-three people, including six civilians, were killed on the Israeli side. The fighting also inflicted heavy damage on Gaza, damaging or destroying some 171,000 homes, according to U.N. figures. The Palestinians say 75,000 people remain homeless. At the 2014 conference in Cairo, the international community pledged some $3.51 billion in aid over three years to rebuild Gaza. According to Monday's report, as of the end of March, $1.41 billion has been delivered, compared to $2.71 billion that should have arrived based on the original schedule.