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Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Sunday unveiled a plan to “improve” the living conditions of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in exchange for a commitment to “calm” the Hamas movement. A project that has yet to be approved by the Israeli coalition government.
The head of Israeli diplomacy Yair Lapid presented, Sunday, September 12, a project to “improve” the living conditions of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in exchange for a commitment to “calm” the Hamas movement in power in this pauperized enclave.
“For too long, the only two options were to conquer Gaza or endless violence. But these are two bad options,” Yair Lapid said, presenting his “economy in exchange for security” initiative at a conference. on security in Jerusalem.
More concretely, he proposes a two-step plan, without however going through direct negotiations with Hamas, the Islamist movement considered “terrorist” by Israel.
In a first phase, “the power lines would be repaired, the gas connected and a water desalination plant built” in Gaza, a territory under Israeli blockade for more than 15 years which has an average of 12 hours of electricity per day and little drinking water.
In return, Hamas leaders should commit to “long-term calm”, added the minister, adding that in the event of violence, Israel’s response would be “stronger than in the past”.
Secondly, a port and a road “link” would be built between the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas sits, two territories geographically separated by Israeli territory.
This plan, which has yet to be approved by the Israeli coalition government, does not aim to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but to “act now” to “improve” living conditions in the Gaza Strip and to “create better conditions for future talks “, argued Yaïr Lapid.
Israel and Hamas have fought four wars since 2008, the last in May killing 260 in Gaza and 13 in Israel.
Four months after this last war, reconstruction in the enclave has still not really started despite the commitments of various donors, in particular Qatar, an emirate which maintains relations with Hamas.
>> To see: “Gaza is struggling to rebuild itself, three months after the lightning war between Israel and Hamas”
The Israeli plan “cannot be achieved without the commitment of our Egyptian partners,” said Yair Lapid, and will require financial support from the United States, the European Union and “Gulf countries, starting with the Arab Emirates. United”.
However, the Emirates, a country which normalized its relations with Israel a year ago, is not an economic actor in Gaza, unlike Qatar, a regional actor which maintains privileged relations with Hamas and grants monthly aid to the enclave. .
After the last war, Israel demanded that Qatari aid to Gaza no longer be disbursed in cash, the Jewish state believing that some of that aid was being diverted for military purposes by Hamas.
After weeks of diplomatic negotiations, Israel, which has frozen Qatari aid to Gaza since May, recently announced a new system to distribute Qatari aid to the people of Gaza through the UN.
But this system is still not in place and a dispute persists over the payment of Qatari aid to Hamas government officials, the local Qatari envoy said Friday evening.
Amid delays in aid to Gaza, strong protests have taken place in recent weeks along the hypersecure barrier separating this Palestinian territory from Israel. And in recent days, rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel, prompting retaliatory strikes by the IDF.
Shortly after the announcement of the Lapid plan, a rocket was fired from Gaza into southern Israel, where it was intercepted by the “Iron Dome” missile shield, the third such incident in three days.
In response, on the night from Sunday to Monday, the Israeli air force struck “four Hamas military compounds” and “the entrance to an underground terrorist tunnel,” the IDF said in a statement. According to a team of AFP journalists in Gaza, there were no injuries.