Israeli foreign minister proposes development plan for Gaza
The Israeli foreign minister offered to improve living conditions in Gaza in exchange for the calm of Islamist Hamas leaders in the enclave, with the aim of resolving “endless cycles of violence” as the two sides have traded new shots over the weekend.
The plan, which includes infrastructure and employment benefits, aims to show Palestinians in the Israeli-blockaded enclave that Hamas’s campaign of violence against Israel is “why they live in conditions of poverty, scarcity, scarcity. of violence and high unemployment, without hope, “Yair Lapid said on Sunday.
He stressed that he was not calling for negotiations with Hamas because “Israel does not speak to terrorist organizations that want to destroy us.”
Lapid, who is expected to take office as prime minister in two years under a rotation deal, admitted his plan was not yet official policy of Israel’s eight-party coalition government, but said he ‘he had the support of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
In the first stage of the plan, the infrastructure of Gaza – an impoverished territory of two million people – would receive a badly needed upgrade, Lapid said in a speech at Reichman University in Herzliya.
“The electrical system will be repaired, gas will be connected, a water desalination plant will be built, significant improvements to the health system and reconstruction of housing and transport infrastructure will take place,” he said.
“In return, Hamas will commit to long-term tranquility,” he added, noting that the international community would play a role in the process, especially Egypt, south of Gaza.
“This will not happen without the support and involvement of our Egyptian partners and without their ability to speak to everyone involved,” Lapid said.
“Any violation by Hamas will stop the process or set it back,” he warned.
If the first step went smoothly, Gaza would then see the construction of an artificial island off its coast that would allow the construction of a port, and a “transport link” between Gaza and the West Bank would be created.
Lapid said he presented the plan to “partners in the Arab world”, as well as to the United States, Russia and the European Union.
“There is still work to be done, we are still on the drawing board, but if this plan has any chance of succeeding and gets broad support, I will propose it to the government as an official position,” he said. .
Just hours after Lapid’s remarks, the specter of renewed violence erupted. The IDF said it intercepted a rocket launched from Gaza into southern Israel, the third such incident in as many days.
On Monday night, Israel deferred the attack, with its fighter jets hitting four Hamas military complexes and a tunnel in the Palestinian enclave, the IDF said in a statement.
No injuries were reported, according to the AFP team in Gaza.
Israel and Hamas waged their last full-scale war in May, the fourth since 2008. The conflict ended in a ceasefire brokered by the Egyptians.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights declared at the end of May that Israeli airstrikes on the territory had resulted in “the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure”.
© 2021 AFP