• Friday, Jan 27, 2023
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Israeli foreign minister proposes development plan for Gaza

  • Published at 03:06 pm September 13th, 2021
Gaza City Palestine
A general view shows Gaza City on September 2, 2021 Reuters

‘In exchange, Hamas will commit to long-term quiet,’ Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid said

Israel's foreign minister has proposed improving living conditions in Gaza in exchange for calm from the enclave's Hamas Islamist leaders, aiming to solve "never-ending rounds of violence" as the two sides exchanged fresh fire 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, violence and high unemployment, without hope", Yair Lapid said on Sunday.

He stressed that he was not calling for negotiations with Hamas, as "Israel doesn't speak to terror organisations who want to destroy us."

Lapid, due to take over as premier in two years as part of a rotation agreement, conceded that his plan does not yet amount to official policy in Israel's eight-party coalition government, but said it had support from Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

In the first stage of the plan, the infrastructure in Gaza -- an impoverished territory of two million people -- would receive a sorely needed upgrade, Lapid said in a speech at the Reichman University in Herzliya.

"The electricity system will be repaired, gas will be connected, a water desalination plant will be built, significant improvements to the healthcare system and a rebuilding of housing and transport infrastructure will take place," he said.

"In exchange, Hamas will commit to long-term quiet," he added, noting the international community would play a role in the process, especially Egypt, to Gaza's south.

"It won't happen without the support and involvement of our Egyptian partners and without their ability to talk to everyone involved," Lapid said.

"Any breach by Hamas will stop the process or set it back," he warned.

If the first stage were to go smoothly, Gaza would then see the construction of an artificial island off its coast that would allow the construction of a port, and a "transportation link" between Gaza and the West Bank would be created.

Lapid said he had 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 do, we're still on the drawing board, but if this plan has a chance to succeed and gains widespread support, I'll propose it to the government as the official position," he said.

Just hours after Lapid's remarks, the spectre of renewed violence flared. The Israeli army said it had intercepted a rocket launched from Gaza towards southern Israel, the third such incident in as many days.

Overnight yesterday, Israel returned the attack, its fighter jets striking four Hamas military compounds and a tunnel in the Palestinian enclave, the Israeli army said in a statement.

There was no report of injuries, according to AFP's team in Gaza.

Israel and Hamas fought their last full-scale war in May, the fourth since 2008. The conflict ended in an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in late May that Israeli air strikes on the territory had resulted in "the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure."

Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail