Palestinian Authority says aid is ‘useless until a settlement with Israel’

International donors have pledged more than $4.5bn (£3.2bn) of aid to rebuild Gaza following the Israeli offensive in January.

At a conference in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, many of the world’s largest economies pledged money to help rebuild the Gaza strip and jump-start the Palestinian economy.

The USA was one of the biggest individual donors, pledging a total of $900m (£643m). A third of this will go towards rebuilding Gaza, and the rest to support the Palestinian Authority.

The European Commission pledged €440m (£396m) for the reconstruction of Gaza and reforms put forward by the Palestinian Authority.

The Gulf Arab countries together pledged more than $1.6bn, with $1bn from Saudi Arabia, $250m from Qatar and $174m from the UAE. Japan, Italy, Turkey, Brazil and Lebanon each made individual pledges.

But Mohammed Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, said reconstruction aid was useless without a settlement with Israel. He said: “"The reconstruction and development efforts will remain insufficient, powerless and threatened in the absence of a political settlement."

The UN estimated that 14,000 homes, 219 factories and 240 schools were destroyed during the conflict with the Israeli army earlier this year.