Yair Lapid presents ‘economy for security’ plan for Gaza – .

Yair Lapid presents ‘economy for security’ plan for Gaza – .

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid laid out his detailed plan to defeat Hamas in Gaza by economic and diplomatic means, in a speech on Sunday to the International Counterterrorism Institute conference at Reichman University.

“We need to launch a broad multi-year saving process for security,” Lapid said.

Lapid rejected the dichotomy that Israel can either reconsider Gaza or continue to engage in periodic cycles of violence against Hamas and other terrorist groups in the coastal enclave that Israel evacuated in 2005.

“These are two bad options… It is not a reality that we can accept,” he said.

Instead, Israel should advance the phrase “economy for security” without negotiating with Hamas – “Israel does not talk to terrorist organizations that want to destroy us,” Lapid said – to put pressure on the group that controls Gaza.

“We have to tell Gazans at every opportunity – Hamas is leading you to ruin,” Lapid said. “No one will come and invest real money and no one will try to build an economy in a place that Hamas shoots from and Israel hits regularly. ”

An Israeli plan to improve life in Gaza if Hamas disarms is a way to put pressure on Hamas and end the “absurd situation” in which an anti-Semitic terrorist organization attacks Israeli civilians, and Israel is blamed for it. that, he said.

This process will take years and will be supported by the might of the IDF.

“Our strong position allows us to initiate instead of just sitting around and waiting for the next round,” Lapid said.

The foreign minister also promised that Israel would bring back soldiers and civilians held captive by Hamas was part of his plan.

This plan has two stages. First would come the humanitarian reconstruction of Gaza in exchange for an effort, coordinated with the international community, to stop the military build-up of Hamas.

“The electrical system will be repaired, gas will be connected, a water desalination plant will be built, significant improvements to the health system and reconstruction of housing and transport infrastructure will take place,” Lapid said. “In return, Hamas will commit to long-term silence. “

The international community should use its influence to ensure this calm and prevent Hamas from arming itself, including preventing smuggling and a monitoring mechanism to prevent humanitarian funds from reaching the terrorist group that threatens Israeli civilians.

Without this surveillance, Israel will not allow funds to be invested in Gaza.

During this stage, Israel would retain control of electricity and water in Gaza. Only positive long-term results would give Gaza energy independence.

A PALESTINIAN seated near the rubble of a store destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City last month (MOHAMMED SALEM / REUTERS).

The Palestinian Authority would once again be responsible for crossings into Gaza, with the exception of Rafah, which is controlled by Egypt. Lapid said Egyptian support is essential for the process.

This first step would have precise benchmarks within a specified time frame. If Hamas did not meet these criteria, the process would be delayed.

“The security formula at the first stage is simple and the Prime Minister [Naftali] Bennett has already pointed out: in return for silence, we are ready to give more than before. If the calm is broken, Hamas and the other terrorist organizations must know that the response will be harsher than before, ”Lapid said.

If the first step is successful, the second step will enable transformative change in Gaza’s economy, including the construction of a man-made island port off Gaza and a transport link to the West Bank.

The second stage would promote economic projects with Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, including industrial zones near the Erez crossing, with international investments from the EU, the United States, the IMF, the United States. World Bank and United Arab Emirates. The Palestinian Authority would be responsible for the civilian management of the Gaza Strip.

Lapid said his plan would “strengthen the Palestinian Authority … with the aim of achieving a two-state solution.”

“The political conditions – in Israel and in the Palestinian Authority – do not allow diplomatic progress at the moment, but in Gaza we can, and we must, act now,” he said.

Lapid also said that Bennett and Defense Minister Benny Gantz “know this position and support the principle behind it,” and that he has discussed the plan with leaders in Egypt and the Gulf, as well as with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Russian Foreign Minister. Minister Sergei Lavrov and the EU.

When asked whether Bennett, who has always opposed the creation of a Palestinian state, supported the principles of a plan to strengthen the Palestinian Authority towards a two-state solution, the spokesperson for the Prime Minister said: “Bennett agrees with the economic strengthening of the Palestinian people. This has been his position for years. As Minister of Defense, he authorized the Ministry of Defense to consider the island idea proposed by [former finance minister] Israël Katz. »


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