This umpteenth plan does not aim to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but, as a first step, to “improve” the living conditions of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and “to create better conditions for future talks”. The head of Israeli diplomacy Yaïr Lapid detailed Sunday this project which must come in exchange for a commitment to “calm” the Hamas movement in power in this impoverished enclave.
“For too long the only two options were conquering Gaza or endless violence. But these are two bad options, ”said Yair Lapid, presenting his initiative called“ the economy in exchange for security ”at a conference on security in Jerusalem. More concretely, he proposes a two-step plan, without however going through direct negotiations with Hamas, a 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 exchange, the Islamists of Hamas will have to commit to a “long-lasting calm”, added the foreign 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” will be built between Gaza and the occupied West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas sits, geographically separated by Israeli territory.
Request for international funding
This plan has yet to be approved by the Israeli coalition government. But it “cannot be achieved without the commitment of our Egyptian partners, argued Yair Lapid, and will require financial support from the United States, the European Union and the Gulf countries, starting with the United Arab Emirates” . However, the Emirates, a country which normalized its relations with Israel a year ago, is not an economic actor in Gaza, unlike Qatar, a monarchy which maintains privileged relations with Hamas and grants monthly aid to the enclave.