Analysts call Israel's "economy for security" plan to solve Gaza crisis attempt to evade peace negotiations

2021-09-16 09:36:05 GMT2021-09-16 17:36:05(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

by Saud Abu Ramadan, Emad Drimly

RAMALLAH/GAZA, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid's initiative to solve the crisis in the Gaza Strip, named "economy for security," is yet another attempt to evade commitment to peace negotiations between the two sides, which have been stalled since 2014, Palestinian analysts have said.

They say the plan will not work because it bypasses the root cause of the conflict between Palestine and Israel.

The Israeli plan has absurd characteristics and is "an attempt to escape from a fair peaceful solution and ignores the essence of the conflict, which is political in the first and last place," Hani Habib, a political analyst from Gaza, told Xinhua.

"Easing the life of the Palestinian people who live under Israeli occupation is an implementation of international law. So Israel wants to replace it and escape from being committed to a political solution," he said, adding that it is difficult to implement Lapid's plan and the Palestinians will reject it.

During a conference held at the Reichman University in Israel on Sunday, Lapid said that implementing the "economy for security" plan is necessary for Israel's participation in the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, and it is designed to ensure stability across the border shared by the two sides.

The first phase of the plan includes reforming Gaza's electricity, health, and transportation networks, he said, adding that Israel would maintain full control over Gaza's water and electricity supplies at the same time, while the Palestinian authorities would resume its control over the coastal enclave and its border crossings.

He said that the second phase of his plan, which comes after an indefinite period of calm, includes major infrastructure projects, including opening a seaport, linking the Gaza Strip with the West Bank through a safe passage and encouraging international investment in the enclave.

"The new Israeli way of thinking to solve the crisis in the Gaza Strip (through economic means) shows that they reached a conclusion that all the former policies of pressure had failed to contain the crisis," Ashraf el-Ajrami, a political analyst based in Ramallah, told Xinhua.

On Monday, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye told the weekly cabinet meeting held in the West Bank city of Ramallah that the crisis in the Gaza Strip is "political," and the entire Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, face the same problem.

"What is needed is a new, serious and real political track based on international law and the United Nations resolutions that end the military occupation of the lands of the state of Palestine, and ends the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip, and then the reconstruction plan of the Gaza Strip will be possible and permanent," he said.

The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) spokesman in Gaza Abdulatif al-Qanou'a said in a statement that Lapid's plan "reflects Israel's failure and disability in dealing with the Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip," adding that the Palestinian people will carry on with their armed struggle and refuse any plan that is imposed on them.

On Sunday, Lapid said that since Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005, the Israeli policies, which included restrictions on movement and trade, had not been effective in preventing attacks carried out by armed groups led by Hamas.

In 2007, Israel imposed a tight blockade on the Gaza Strip and considered it a hostile entity right after Hamas seized control of the coastal enclave. Since then, Israel has waged four large-scale military offensives, which killed hundreds of people.

The blockade, the large-scale military offensives, and internal Palestinian split between Hamas and Fatah party have caused increasingly serious poverty, unemployment and a severe shortage in the basic services of health, water and electricity in the region.

Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians came to an end in 2014. The talks, sponsored by the United States, made no progress due to differences over such issues as Jewish settlements, security and borders. Enditem