Tel Aviv: Yair Lapid Foreign Minister of Israel proposed a new “economy for security” plan for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.
During a security conference at the Reichman University on Sunday, Lapid said that since the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza in 2005, Israel’s policy, which included the blockade, restrictions on imports and exports of goods, and four rounds of war, has not been effective in halting repeated attacks by Hamas and other militant groups, reports Xinhua news agency.
Lapid, who is also the alternate prime minister, said the goal of the new plan is “to create stability on both sides of the border”.
He emphasised that the Jewish state will not negotiate with Hamas, because “Israel doesn’t talk with terror organizations that want to annihilate it”.
The first phase of the plan focuses on an “upgraded humanitarian reconstruction of Gaza”, Lapid said.
It includes rebuilding of Gaza’s electric power system, access to gas, constructing water desalination facilities, boosting health services, and restoring residential and transportation infrastructures.
In return, Hamas should keep long-term calm and its purchase of new weapons will be restricted, according to the proposal.
The second phase proposes investments in large infrastructures, which Israel has blocked, such as building an artificial island off Gaza’s shore for a new port.
In addition, Gaza would be reconnected with the West Bank, after Israel has banned the movement of people and goods between the two areas.
Lapid noted that the second phase would be implemented only if Israel’s security is ensured.
The plan has not yet been discussed by the Israeli cabinet.
Israel’s Channel 12 TV news reported that Lapid has “coordinated” the release of the plan with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in advance.