At the international Gaza Reconstruction Conference in Cairo on 12 October, the German Government pledged to provide 50 million euros to assist reconstruction in the Gaza Strip. Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement on the matter in Berlin:
After five weeks of war and destruction, the people in Gaza urgently need our help for reconstruction. We must now respond to the humanitarian imperative to ensure that essential care is provided. We must not abandon the people of Gaza to despair. And we intend to support the Palestinian Authority in resuming responsibility in Gaza.
However, it is also clear that things cannot simply go back to the way they were. No‑one wants to build infrastructure just to see it destroyed again in short order. A lasting ceasefire therefore needs to ensure two things. Firstly, Hamas and other extremists must stop using Gaza as an arms depot. Secondly, the people in Gaza need to be given access to economic prospects and freedom of movement. The negotiating parties in Cairo need to finally create the right conditions for that. Only then will the international community be able to invest in reconstruction to the extent that we would wish to.
The German delegation is headed by Michael Roth, Minister of State for Europe at the Federal Foreign Office. Roth spoke as follows after arriving in Cairo:
Today’s conference is a message to the people in Gaza of our active solidarity as they entertain the hope of real prospects for a brighter future at long last. In making our contribution, we are demonstrating our readiness to help and not leave Gaza in the lurch. However, we are doing so on the basis of clear expectations, namely that the ceasefire must now hold long term!
Around 70 countries and international organisations are taking part in this conference hosted by the Norwegian and Egyptian foreign ministers. The aim is to mobilise financial and political support for reconstruction and a lasting ceasefire. The Federal Foreign Office is making 11.8 million euros available from its humanitarian aid and crisis prevention budgets, earmarked in part for food aid, basic medical care and psychosocial therapy for children. The Development Ministry is supplying 38.2 million euros for the Gaza Strip from its own budget. This money will be used for reconstructing infrastructure that has been destroyed or damaged, especially in the fields of water supply and other community infrastructure. A fast‑acting employment programme and a programme for psychosocial support will also receive funding.