Report: Israel to Establish Major Economic Projects for Benefit of Gazans

YERUSHALAYIM -
View of Beit Lakhia in the Gaza Strip. (Doron Horowitz/Flash90)

Lebanese reports Friday said that talks between Israel and Hamas were continuing on an arrangement that would lead to a cessation of rocket attacks on Israel. According to the report, both sides are “serious” about reducing tension, as the Gaza terror group has decided that at this time it needs to worry about the welfare of Gaza residents.

The deal would include the return of missing Israelis held by Hamas in exchange for the release of terrorists, and the establishment of a water purification plant in Gaza. Those talks, according to the report, is one reason the terror group has for the third time in a row canceled its usual Friday “march of return” demonstrations at the Gaza border fence.

A report in Yediot Acharonot said that those talks were actually at an advanced stage, and have been going on secretly for some time – and that along with the “stick” of IDF action against Hamas, Israel is offering the terror group a “carrot” in the form of economic development that would provide thousands of jobs for Gaza residents.

The jobs would come from five projects that Israel would build, with nearly all the workers in the projects coming from Gaza.

The projects include three industrial zones along the Gaza border, totaling 4.500 dunams. In addition, a major recycling plant would be established that would generate electricity from waste products, while a fifth project would use natural gas to produce power.

The electricity generated in the plants would be directed to Gaza, thus alleviating the power problems faced by Gaza residents. Israeli officials believe that if Gazans’ economic conditions improve they will be less motivated to carry out acts of terror, the report said.

According to the report, Israeli officials presented the plan to U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who said he would pass it on to President Donald Trump. The plan was authored not by Foreign or Defense Ministry officials, but by Gadi Yarkoni, head of the Eshkol Regional Council, which has been significantly impacted by rocket attacks from Gaza.

The plan has been embraced by security officials. “We have to differentiate between terror and the needs of the population,” a security official was quoted as saying. “We will work to create jobs and economic opportunity along the border in the hope that this will cause Gazans to think twice before choosing violence. This could also provide a new income stream for Israel,” the source said.