Gaza reconstruction needs Israel consent: FM minister Lieberman

AFP , Sunday 12 Oct 2014

Israeli FM Avigdor Lieberman ( Photo: Reuters)

The foreign minister of Israel, which was not invited to an international conference Sunday in Cairo on rebuilding Gaza, said any such effort would need his country's consent.

"Gaza cannot be rebuilt without the cooperation and participation of Israel," Avigdor Lieberman said in an interview with news website Ynet.

Israel, which has enforced a strict blockade on the Gaza Strip since 2006, can block the entry of construction materials or funds into the Palestinian territory.

The Jewish state insists on guarantees that international aid will not be diverted to military ends by the Islamist movement Hamas, against which it fought a devastating 50-day war in July and August.

However, Lieberman said Israel would be "receptive" to plans for "the reconstruction of civilian infrastructure in Gaza".

The Palestinian Authority has asked for $4 billion (3.2 billion euros) to reconstruct the Gaza Strip, mostly to rebuild homes in the wake of the conflict which killed 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 73 Israelis, most of them soldiers.

Hamas, which effectively rules Gaza, and Israel were not invited to the Cairo conference.

"Since this conference will discuss issues which affect Israel... (it) should have been there," an unnamed Israeli diplomat said in Haaretz newspaper.

Lieberman was cool to US calls for a renewal of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. "If it's only going to deal with the demands of the Palestinians, then it's a waste of time," he said.

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