Independent of a deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the United States is pursuing a plan to rebuild Gaza, leaving Hamas in power, in exchange for a “long period” of quiet on Israel’s southern border. A report in Yisrael Hayom Sunday said that the administration of President Donald Trump has been in contact with the governments of Israel, Jordan, Egypt and other countries regarding the plan.
The plan consists of a series of humanitarian, construction, and social projects in Gaza, to be funded and supervised by Arab countries. The plan will be implemented even without the support of Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas. Hamas has been speaking to these Arab governments in recent weeks about the plan, the report said, adding that it is expected that the terror group will accept the plan, as it has shown that it, like Israel, would rather avoid an all-out confrontation.
The administration’s hope is that by ensuring a standard of living for Gaza residents, it will be possible to move forward with the rest of the peace plan, a Jordanian source told Yisrael Hayom. “Gaza is on the verge of a humanitarian disaster, and it is not just Israel that will pay the price for this when it explodes, but Arab countries as well.” An Egyptian source told the newspaper that “the Trump administration has really shown that it can think outside the box and deliver creative solutions. The administration’s representatives presented to us information on his ‘grand peace plan,’ starting with the recuperation of Gaza as a springboard for a regional peace plan.”
As far as the plan’s working around Abbas, the sources said that it was the PA chief’s own choice – and own fault – that he is being left out of the process. “Unfortunately, the PA chief’s refusal to accept any American involvement in the negotiations process, with the claim that they favor Israel, has ensured that he is outside the inner circle of the group trying to solve problems,” the Jordanian source said.