Donations Stalling: World Bank Urges Follow Through on Gaza Aid

Gaza has struggled socially and economically almost from its inception, but this has been particularly true following Israel’s war against the region in 2014. Following the devastation, a number of Arab nations led the way in pledging aid to the region for reconstruction. Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and many other Arab nations appeared poised to assist the region without the need for intervention by organizations like the World Bank or International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Two years later, however, these donors have failed to provide more than a tiny fraction of the donations they once promised. According to a report released by the World Bank, donations are significantly behind schedule.

The report noted that "[a]ctual disbursements fall short of planned disbursements by around $1.3 billion, and hence, donors are urged to accelerate the disbursement of funds." At the current rate, Gaza would not receive the total amount pledged in aid until the middle of 2019, more than two years behind schedule.

The fighting between Israel and the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip caused significant damage, including destroying or damaging some 171,000 homes. According to the Palestinians, roughly 75,000 people remain homeless two years later.

During a conference in 2014 in Cairo, the international community pledged $3.51 billion in aid over three years. The aid was intended to help rebuild Gaza and feed and house the displaced. To date, however, only $1.41 billion has actually been delivered to Gaza.

In 2014, Qatar led the charge on donation, pledging $1 billion itself. At the time, Qatar’s Foreign Minister said, "While the Palestinian people need financial support, they need more political support from the international community.”  Two years later, though, and Qatar has only delivered $152 million; about 15% of what it promised.

Similarly, Saudi Arabia had pledged $500 million in 2014, but has only delivered about 10% of its pledge to date. The UAE has only followed through on 15% of its $200 million pledge, and Kuwait has only delivered about 33% of its $200 million pledge.

In response, the World Bank has urged these and other nations to follow through on their pledges. The Bank is joined by Hamas, whose spokesperson underscored the dire situation by pointing out that continuing suffering in the region could cause further ill will to fester and boil over in the form of further violence in the future.