The Arab newspaper, The Times of Israel, revealed what it described as a new Israeli plan or strategy for dealing with the Gaza Strip, which is summarized in the reconstruction and improvement of the Strip’s infrastructure, in exchange for stopping Hamas’s rockets and weakening its military power.
It is noteworthy that the ceasefire agreement had ended the latest rounds of war between Tel Aviv and the Palestinian resistance movements in the besieged sector.
Which lasted for 11 days and witnessed a strategic upheaval in the balance of power between the two sides, after the resistance’s missiles reached all Israeli cities and regions and completely paralyzed life in Israel, in an unexpected victory achieved by the Palestinian resistance despite the huge difference in military capabilities between the two sides.
The new plan that was developed to deal with the Gaza Strip was revealed by Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid during his participation in the annual conference of the Institute for Counter-Terrorism Policy at Reichmann University, under the title “Israel’s Necessary Policy toward Gaza.”
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The Foreign Minister paved the way for that plan, through his tweets, in which he said: “Since Israel left the Gaza Strip in 2005, it has repeatedly faced rounds of violence that have caused suffering and damage to the residents of the state (Israel) and the economy. The policy that Israel has pursued so far has not fundamentally changed the situation.”
Lapid then outlined his new policy, saying: “We have to take a big, multi-year step. This is a realistic version of what was once called “reconstruction versus disarmament”. The purpose of this step is to create stability on both sides of the border. security, civil, economic and political.”
Gaza infrastructure is a first stage
In the details of his proposed plan, Lapid said that the infrastructure in Gaza, in the first phase of the plan, will receive a much-needed improvement, adding: “The electricity system will be repaired, the gas connection will be reformed, a water desalination plan will be built, significant improvements will be made to the health care system, and the infrastructure will be rebuilt. housing and transportation infrastructure.
If the first phase goes smoothly, then Gaza will see the construction of an artificial island off its coast that will allow the construction of a port, and a “transportation link” will be established between Gaza and the West Bank, according to a BBC report detailing Lapid’s plan.
It was not presented to the occupation government
It is important here to clarify that what Lapid announced is a plan that has been drafted so far in his office and has not been presented to Bennett or the Israeli government for it to become official policy, and there are fundamental questions about what he announced that he did not provide answers to.
The first stage is the reconstruction and provision of humanitarian needs in the besieged Gaza Strip, in exchange for weakening Hamas’ military power through international forces, according to what Lapid said without providing any explanations about which international forces he meant and what that meant in the first place.
And the second stage, according to Lapid, “is to ensure security, and Gaza accepts the details of the first stage, in addition to the Palestinian Authority taking over the control of matters in terms of civil and economic management in the Strip.”
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The Israeli Foreign Minister also did not provide an explanation for how the Palestinian Authority took control of matters in the Gaza Strip without holding Palestinian elections that were already scheduled last April, but which were not held by a decision of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas because of Tel Aviv’s refusal to participate in occupied Jerusalem’s residents in those elections.
Stop Hamas’ rockets
Lapid revealed that this plan, which he said aims to improve the living conditions of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, is conditional on the resistance movements in the Gaza Strip stopping “attacking Israel,” according to the Israeli Foreign Minister’s allegations.
Lapid was not afraid to reveal his goal behind this strategy, which is to convince the Palestinians, who are trapped in the Strip and suffer from catastrophic humanitarian conditions due to the siege, that “Hamas’ violence against Israel is the reason for their living in conditions of poverty, scarcity, violence and high unemployment, without hope.”
What does the proposed Lapid plan mean?
The residents of the Gaza Strip, who are more than two million Palestinians, suffer from extremely poor living conditions. As a result of the continuous Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, since the Hamas movement won the legislative elections in 2006.
In addition to this siege, the Israeli occupation army launches from time to time military operations on Gaza, the latest of which was the recent aggression that lasted 11 days between May 10 and 21, and ended with Egyptian mediation.
What is remarkable about the new plan that Lapid announced, regardless of how realistic it is that it can be implemented under the conditions he announced, is that the foreign minister said that he discussed the plan with a number of world leaders, including the foreign ministers of the United States and Russia, in addition to officials in Egypt, the European Union and the Gulf, despite Not discussing the plan with the Israeli government itself.
Some Israeli analysts believe that Lapid’s disclosure of his plan in this way is likely a “test balloon” to measure the reaction, especially since Lapid was keen to conclude the details of his plan by focusing on two points, the first is that “this is not an offer to negotiate with Hamas,” and the second is “not Israel has given up its efforts in the field of prisoners and missing persons.”
Since the war on Gaza in 2014, Hamas has kept two Israeli soldiers as prisoners, without giving any details about their fate, in addition to two Israelis who Israel says entered the Gaza Strip later in mysterious circumstances.
However, apart from Lapid’s statements about not negotiating with Hamas or abandoning efforts to recover prisoners, talk of “economy for security” as an alternative to “disarmament in exchange for lifting the siege” represents a victory for the Palestinian resistance, according to many Israeli analysts themselves.
What’s new in Lapid’s plan on Gaza?
However, what Lapid announced as a new plan to deal with the Gaza Strip is not really new, according to a report by the newspaper “The Times of Israel.” He questioned the feasibility of implementing what the foreign minister proposed in the first place.
Lapid justified his presentation of his plan now by saying that “the political conditions in Israel and in the Palestinian Authority do not allow for diplomatic progress to occur at the present time, but in Gaza it can happen and we must do it now.”
According to the newspaper’s report, Israeli officials previously presented similar plans related to repairs to the collapsed infrastructure in the besieged sector without producing anything on the ground. Indeed, many of the projects that Lapid mentioned, such as delivering natural gas to Gaza, establishing sewage and drinking water stations, and allowing the construction of a sea port, have already been proposed.
But the Palestinians always criticize these “economic plans” because, from the Palestinian point of view, there will be no real solution to the conflict without a political settlement that restores their rights to their land to establish an independent Palestinian state.
On the other hand, the Israeli right, to which Naftali Bennett, the current prime minister and a disciple of Netanyahu, belongs, rejects these “economic initiatives,” considering them a “reward” for the Hamas movement that rules the Gaza Strip.
From the Palestinian point of view, this logic applies to the categorical rejection of the deal of the century that the former US president wanted to implement as a means to put an end to the main conflict in the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – from his point of view. The reason for the refusal was to offer “economic temptations” to the Palestinians in exchange for giving up their right to establish an independent state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.
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