U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has arrived in the Egyptian
resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh for a conference of international donors
raising money to rebuild the Gaza Strip.
Clinton is expected to offer $900 million at Monday's meeting to raise
money for the territory following Israel's military offensive earlier
this year. The Palestinian Authority says it needs to raise $2.8
billion to reconstruct Gaza.
International Mideast envoy Tony Blair visited Gaza Sunday to examine reconstruction needs.
The former British prime minister said international aid to Gaza will
not have a lasting impact unless there is a political solution to
Israel's conflict with Hamas. Israel and Egypt have largely blockaded
Gaza since Hamas seized power in the territory in 2007.
Mr. Blair represents the international quartet of the United States,
the European Union, Russia and the United Nations. During his visit to
Gaza, he did not meet with Hamas, a group the quartet refuses to deal
Clinton has said no U.S. money will be transferred to Hamas, which was
not invited to the donors' conference. After the conference, Clinton is
scheduled to meet with Israeli and Palestinian officials, including
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
On Sunday, Israel again threatened to retaliate for ongoing rocket attacks by Gaza militants.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told his Cabinet that Israel will
not tolerate the rocket fire. Israel's military says 110 rockets and
mortars have hit the country since January 18th, when it ended a
three-week assault on Hamas militants who control Gaza.
Hamas also declared a cease-fire in January.
In another development, Gaza medics say five Palestinians were killed
Sunday when a smuggling tunnel collapsed under Gaza's border with
Egypt. Smugglers have been using a network of cross-border tunnels to
bring goods and weapons into Gaza.