State Receives Palestinian Figures in Bid to Speed Gaza Reconstruction

Egypt’s foreign minister discussed “developments in the Palestinian issue” and “speeding up the process of reconstructing the Gaza strip” with a delegation of Palestinian figures, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

Last week marked the passing of one year since the densely populated Gaza strip, home to 1.8 million people, was the site of 50 days of fighting between the Israeli military and armed Palestinian groups.

The delegation, which was led by Palestinian Liberation Organisation member Yasser al-Wadia, was made up of “independent figures,” the Egyptian ministry of foreign affairs said.

Gaza has been under siege since 2007, when resistance movement Hamas seized control of the strip.

It is currently recovering from the destruction caused Israeli military operations last year, leaving more than “96,000 homes … damaged or destroyed,” according to an assessment in December 2014 by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

In October 2014, Egypt and Norway co-hosted an international donors conference on the reconstruction of the Strip in Cairo, raising around 5.4 billion dollars in donations.

The majority of the donations were, however, stalled.

During the talks, Wadia offered his condolences to Shukri for all Egyptian lives lost in “terrorist” attacks.

Shukri told Wadia that the Palestinian issue is Egypt’s prime concern, given that it is Arabs’ central issue.

He added that Egypt will continue making efforts until the Palestinians gain their “legitimate rights” and establish an “independent state.”

Cairo has traditionally been involved in peace talks as a mediator.

Shukri and Wadia also discussed reconciliation efforts between Palestinian factions, which Egypt has often fostered as well.