Lapid unveils Israeli financial plan for Gaza

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid offered Sept. 12 his imaginative and prescient for a long-term settlement between Israel and the Gaza Strip. Addressing a convention of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at Reichman University, Lapid proposed a top level view for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip. Lapid mentioned that the plan — dubbed “economy for security” — presents a extra sensible approach towards the reconstruction of Gaza in trade for disarmament of Palestinian armed factions.

Lambasting the coverage adopted by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vis-a-vis Gaza, Lapid famous, “Since Israel left the Gaza Strip in 2005, we have been dragged into round after round of violence causing suffering for our people and harming our economy. The policy Israel has pursued up until now hasn’t substantially changed the situation. The closures haven’t stopped the smuggling and production of weapons. Last night we once again struck Gaza after yet another rocket was fired, and residents ran to their shelters. We need to change direction. What should we do? The short answer is that we need to start a large, multi-year process of economy for security. It is the more realistic version of what in the past was called ‘rehabilitation for demilitarization.'”

Lapid defined that his define contains two phases. The first stage will handle the quick humanitarian disaster in Gaza, tackling fundamental human wants there. “The electricity system will be repaired, gas will be connected, a water desalination plant will be built, significant improvements to the health-care system and a rebuilding of housing and transport infrastructure will take place. In exchange, Hamas will commit to long-term quiet,” Lapid mentioned.

The second stage of the define features a complete financial jump-start for the Gaza Strip. Lapid proposed that “as part of the second stage the artificial island project off the coast of Gaza will be advanced, which will allow for the construction of a port. A transportation link between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank will be built. International investment inside Gaza and joint economic projects with Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority [PA] will be advanced. Industrial and employment zones will be built near the Erez border crossing.”

In his handle, Lapid made clear that Israel doesn’t intend to barter with Hamas, which requires its destruction. Rather, Israel expects worldwide involvement and engagement, to strain Hamas into choosing the answer he’s placing on the desk. It additionally strives for the residents of Gaza to strain Hamas in favor of such a plan. Israel, he mentioned, hopes Gazans now perceive what they’re lacking out on on account of terrorism and that they understand how a lot they stand to realize if terrorism stops.

Lapid famous that the investments wanted for the implementation of the define, particularly for the second stage, shall be managed by a bunch of donor international locations and worldwide entities. The group ought to embrace the United States, European Union, International Monetary Fund, World Bank and several other Gulf states, led by the United Arab Emirates. Lapid continued, “As part of the second stage, the PA will become the central body working to advance these different projects, it will be given the economic and civil management of the Gaza Strip.”

More so, Lapid said that while his outline does not address the two-state solution, he himself believes Israel needs to strengthen the PA and needs to negotiate with it with an aim of achieving a two-state solution.

This last statement on the PA, as well as Lapid’s affirmation that such a plan has never before been presented officially by an Israeli government, leaves little room for misinterpretation. Lapid intends to carry the banner of Gaza reconstruction, as well as the banner of advancing on talks with the Palestinians. Two tracks that should surely earn him the support of the White House. Indeed, Lapid noted in his speech that he had held in recent weeks a series of conversations with partners in the Arab world and the West about his plan. These partners included, he said, leaders in Egypt and the Gulf, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the  EU.

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