U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday the Bush administration will help with the reconstruction of Gaza after Israel’s withdrawal.

The Palestinian Authority and International agencies estimate that around $ 1 billion will be needed to rebuild the Gaza Strip. 

Rice urged Israel not to engage in ‘wanton destruction’ of the homes in the Gaza settlements slated for evacuation.

Rice expressed hopes that disengagement will succeed, calling it a historic opportunity.

 

‘Obviously, the disengagement is a huge historical opportunity, and we want it to succeed,’ Rice said.

She explained that the United States would help with reconstruction of Gaza because ‘if the Palestinians are able to take over Gaza and turn this into an area that is prosperous over the long term, that’s going to be very much better for the whole peace process.’

When asked about Israel’s request for financial aid to help with the pullout, Rice said: ‘I don’t know what’s being suggested and so it is a little hard in the abstract to know,’ she said.

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