Promoting a Coordinated Strategy for the Reconstruction of Gaza - page 26

Promoting a Coordinated Strategy for the Reconstruction of Gaza
Four entities view the continuation of the Hamas regime
in Gaza as a threat or a problem that must be eliminated:
Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the inhabitants
of Gaza. For Egypt, Hamas is an inseparable part of the
Muslim Brotherhood movement, the Egyptian’s regime’s most
implacable enemy. Egypt cannot forgive the operational aid
that Hamas in Gaza extended and continues to extend to
the Muslim Brotherhood and is unwilling to accept a territory
controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood on its border.
The existence of an active terror base– maintained and
supported by Iran – just one kilometer from Sderot and
five kilometers from Ashkelon sharply conflicts with Israel’s
security interests. Sporadic rocket fire from Gaza to Israel,
even if no one is hurt, causes hundreds of thousands of
Israelis to live in a constant state of anxiety. No sovereign
state should have to accept such a situation. The fact that
Israeli governments have decided to accept a Hamas regime
in Gaza next door is clearly at odds with our national interest.
This acquiescence is the result of political interests, mainly
the desire to weaken the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah,
to split Gaza from the West Bank and the political-electoral
fear of the impact of a wide-scale military campaign in Gaza.
For the Palestinian Authority, the Hamas government in
Gaza poses a constant challenge to the legitimacy of its
government and to its position as the representative of all the
Palestinians in the territories, further weakening its authority.
The inhabitants of Gaza have learned firsthand that Hamas
rule in Gaza dooms them to a life of hardship, suffering and
fear. It is impossible to rule in Gaza under the ideological
banner of Muqawama (resistance) and at the same time
maintain a normal lifestyle, to say nothing of economic
development. Resistance means to take military action
against Israel, following shorter or longer intervals, usually
shorter, with Israel eventually responding in full force. This
response has destructive repercussions for Gaza. The people
of Gaza no longer want the Hamas regime to rule, and it
forces its brutal authority on them, cruelly putting down any
sign of opposition.
Only cooperative action on the part of Egypt, Israel, the
Palestinian Authority and the people of Gaza can put an
end to Hamas rule in Gaza. This will not happen in the near
future. Israel ultimately prefers Hamas rule, the Palestinian
Authority is afraid of coordinating this type of action with
Israel, even if Israel were interested in it. And, as noted,
the people of Gaza are afraid, and quite rightly so as far as
they are concerned.
These circumstances will not necessarily exist forever. A
situation may come about in the future making coordination
of this kind possible. But until then, political and military
action without a solid economic dimension are not enough.
It is clear to the people of Gaza that already today, under
Hamas rule, they have no chance of improving their lives.
However, it should also be clear to them that a change in
government will bring them prosperity on the personal and
family level.
Based on this perspective, in 2006, we – Samer Khoury
(among the most outstanding Palestinian businesspeople and
owner of the huge Consolidated Contractors Company [CCC])
and I sketched out a plan for the economic development of
Gaza. The main thrust of the plan involves private companies
from the region and beyond. These are its main components:
1. The construction of a highway from the Erez Crossing
to the Rafah Crossing.
2. The rebuilding and operation of the Dahaniya airport.
3. The construction and operation of a deep-water port.
4. The construction of sections of a railroad to connect the
Gaza Strip to the Israeli railroad network. This connection
will also create a land transportation passage between
the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
This involves a section six kilometers long from the Erez
Crossing to the Ashkelon area, making it possible to
convey cargo to and from the Ashdod port.
A further railroad connection will be built from the Erez
Crossing to Kiryat Gat, and from it to Tarqumiyah, and
from Kfar Saba to Qalqilya, based on the old Lod-Hadera
railroad line.
1. The construction of a gas pipeline to supply natural gas
to the Palestinian power station in Gaza.
2. The gas can come from the natural gas reservoir opposite
the Gaza coast to the Ashkelon facility and from it to Gaza,
or directly from the marine reservoir to the power station.
3. The development of the Gaza Marine gas field is crucial
for any plan to develop the Gaza Strip.
4. To expand the production capacity of the PEC power
station in Gaza by another 560 MWh.
Ephraim Sneh
How to Develop Gaza’s Economy
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