Ministers Propose Immediate Aid Package for Towns Near Gaza Border

Israeli soldiers block roads near the border with the Gaza Strip on August 3. (Flash90)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman on Sunday submitted to the Cabinet for its approval their plan for an aid package to meet what they describe as the immediate needs of local authorities in the areas adjacent to the Gaza Strip. The plan is said to be intended to allow for a swift “return to routine” after last weekend’s Operation Breaking Dawn.

During the operation, numerous rockets were fired at Israeli towns in the area by the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization based in Gaza. The area also suffered from a closure that prohibited non-residents from entering the area in the days leading up to the start of the operation.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked and the Negev and Galilee Development Minister Oded Forer were also involved in the decision.

Lapid said, “Various needs arose in the field during the operation. The fact the operation is over does not mean that these needs no longer exist.”

He added that it was important to find an immediate solution in order to make it easier for local authorities and Gaza border residents to get back to normalcy.

Liberman explained that this plan includes assistance for local authorities in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip via budgeting, prioritizing and advancing payments to cover the expenditures that they made for any sort of service or work done that came about as a result of the situation.

For example, many municipal employees may have needed to put in many hours of overtime work and local authorities may have used their own funds to assist local residents in various ways who suffered under the terrorist bombardments.

“Just as I said throughout the operation and on the day after,” commented Liberman, “all those who were hurt are entitled to assistance. The responses that we are providing will be immediate and we will utilize all means necessary for them to be provided efficiently and without impediments. The residents of the south and the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip should know that we are looking out for them.”

That proposed package also includes assistance for new emergency preparedness via reinforcing emergency communications systems, solutions for electricity during crises, equipping and completing operations centers, and additional portable emergency shelters.

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