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Netanyahu promises Gaza political and economic reshuffle ‘soon'

Netanyahu has reportedly been in intensive talks with the US, UN and Egypt [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 July, 2018

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Significant efforts have been made to reach a deal that would alleviate some of Gaza's economic and humanitarian suffering, as Israeli army leaders warn of impending conflict.

Israel’s Channel 10 news revealed on Friday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told a number of ministers in a private meeting last week that new measures to improve the political and economic situation in the Gaza Strip will be implemented in the near future, with the aim of de-escalating tensions between Israel and Hamas.

Channel 10 said Netanyahu indicated that Egypt, the UN and the US have been having in-depth discussions with both Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, in order to finalise the agreement of the measures. It has not been reported what precisely the measures consist of, or whether the Gaza blockade will be lifted.

According to Channel 10, significant efforts have been made to reach this agreement, which aims to radically transform the economic and humanitarian situation in the enclave, through launching various reconstruction projects and ensuring the Palestinian Authority is reinstated as the governing authority in the Gaza Strip.

Read more: Without Israel's blockade, Gaza would flourish

The channel explained that those who were personally involved in directing the efforts to reach a final agreement were US presidential advisor Jared Kushner, UN envoy to the region Nikolai Mladenov, and the director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service Abbas Kamel.

The channel reported that a high-ranking diplomatic source said that Egypt and the UN are currently putting significant pressure on the other parties to finalise the agreement, however the actual outcome relies on the commitment of the various sides.

An Israeli minister and member of the Security Cabinet said that Israel was interested in reaching such an agreement, but only on the condition of ensuring its security interests.

The channel reported another Israeli minister said that success of the initiative depends on whether Mahmoud Abbas is willing to lift sanctions imposed by the Palestinian Authority on the Gaza Strip, and if the PA is willing to return to govern the enclave, in addition to Hamas’ commitment to keep calm on Gaza’s border areas.

The channel also revealed that Israeli army chiefs have put great pressure on the political leadership in Tel Aviv to not obstruct the deal. Army commanders have warned that as the economic situation in the enclave deteriorates, which it is doing so rapidly, the risk of a confrontation with Israel increases.

The channel also added that Israeli military leaders believe that the US decision to cut funding to UNRWA, the UN agency which assists Palestinian refugees, has played a major role in the economic deterioration in the enclave.


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