Clinton Pledges $900 Million to Help Palestinians

By Kate Barrett

Mar 2, 2009 10:55am

ABC News’ Martha Raddatz Reports From Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt: Speaking to an international donors conference set up to aid the Palestinians in war-torn Gaza, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today pledged $900 million in U.S. aid, saying, "We gather today to address the humanitarian and early recovery needs of the Palestinian people after the recent conflict and the United States joins with others in generously stepping to help."

Only a third of the U.S. money — $300 million — is directly slated for Gaza, and Clinton said there would be tight restrictions to keep the money out of "the wrong hands." By "the wrong hands," Clinton means the militant group, Hamas, which controls Gaza.

"We have worked with the Palestinian Authority to install safeguards that will ensure that our funding is only used where and for whom it is intended," Clinton said.

Clinton, on her first trip to the region as secretary of state, said the whole of the aid package, which requires congressional approval, is intended to help both the people of Gaza and those living in the West Bank.

Some $400 million will go the Palestinian Authority for "reform and development" in the West Bank and $200 million dollars will go to help the Palestinian authority pay wages.

Getting reconstruction aid to the people of Gaza will be difficult. The Israelis control the border and will not allow construction materials, such as cement and steel rods, to cross over, fearing that Hamas would use the materials to rearm. The United States has said it wants the border crossings open, but in a way that’s consistent with the security needs of the Israelis.

Clinton today also reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to a two-state solution, saying, "Time is of the essence. We cannot afford more setbacks and delays or regrets about what might have been had different decisions been made. Now is not the time for recriminations. It is time to look ahead."

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus