THE PROBLEM


The continued rule of Hamas in the Gaza Strip - marked by its intense rivalry with the Palestinian Authority and low regard for humanitarian concerns - have prevented any political horizons of hope for Gazans.

THE SOLUTION


Initiate a civil-economic plan, with support from the Palestinian Authority and other international actors, as well as an Israeli policy declaration that deems Gaza part of a future Palestinian state.

Background


Outlined in the previous section regarding the Gaza Strip's humanitarian situation, an improvement in the quality of life of Gazans would increase the likelihood of stability on Israel's border with the Strip, Palestinian reunification, and further pave the way for a two-state reality.

The opportunities available to Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the international community - although limited - include a range of civil-economic measures that will both improve everyday life for Palestinians and provide them with hope for progress on a final status agreement down the road.

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS


Given the fact that aid to Gaza will bolster the reputation of Hamas, hurt the Palestinian Authority, and suggest that Israel yields to the use of force, Israel must come up with creative solutions to limit this damage. Thus, relief to Gaza should be packaged with far-reaching measures to improve conditions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

As recommended by the defense establishment and international aid officials, Israel should focus its efforts in Gaza on several urgent issues:

SUPPLY OF BASIC GOODS

The number of delivery trucks that are allowed to enter the Strip on a daily basis should be increased to 1,200. This goal is feasible thanks to upgrades to the Kerem Shalom Crossing’s inspection apparatus, including new scanning equipment installed in April of 2015.

INCREASING EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES


Subject to the approval of the Israeli General Security Service (Shabak), considerably more exit permits should be issued to Gazans wishing to work in Israel. Moreover, there should be a major increase in agricultural and manufacturing exports to Israel and abroad. Israeli companies must also be permitted to renew outsourcing from the Strip. Lastly, the area off the Gazan coast that is open to Palestinian fishing should be expanded.


ESTABLISHING WATER DESALINATION FACILITIES


Israel should grant permission for the establishment of a central  water desalination facility, as wall as allowing the completion of water treatment plants in the northern and central portions of the Gaza Strip.


REBUILDING ELECTRICITY INFRASTRUCTURE


Paid for by the international community, this work will be carried out by aid organizations - including the reconstruction and upgrading of transmission lines in Gaza, increasing the amount of power supplied by the Israeli Electric Corporation, expanding the capacity of Gaza’s power station and refitting it to operate on natural gas, and connecting the Strip to Israel’s national gas transmission network.


Long-Term Project: A Seaport in Gaza


The construction of a maritime port in Gaza is a long range project, whose significance goes beyond any immediate measures to stabilize the current situation. However, early steps in this direction are likely to improve the environment and reinforce Israel's claim that its imposed restrictions are exclusively security-driven. This project is also of great symbolic importance to all Palestinians. In exchange for such an outlet to the Mediterranean Sea, Hamas will have to accept Israel’s security demands – first and foremost strict security inspections of all goods and individuals entering Gaza, but also PA control – or risk being blamed for blocking the project. Authorizing the relevant international and local agencies – including the PA – to begin planning the facility will pay immediate dividends in the international community’s attitude towards Israel's policy on Gaza.

An Israeli Political Declaration


Israel will declare that notwithstanding the present rift between Gaza and the West Bank, Israel deems these two territories to be a single entity in all that concerns the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its resolution. It will also include:

The humanitarian situation in Gaza demonstrates the apathy of Hamas towards the Palestinian public, and articulate the moral premise of Israel's desire and effort to prevent a humanitarian crisis in the Strip.

The Israeli government will distinguish between its uncompromising war against Hamas-sponsored terrorism and its assistance to the Gazan populace.

Commit to back any undertaking – be it Palestinian, regional, or international – that is compatible with Israel's security interests

Initiating a robust civil-economic plan would:


IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR GAZANS

Substantial economic relief will foster hope for a better future and help push off or avert the next round of violence.

IMPROVE ISRAEL'S INTERNATIONAL STANDING

Widely viewed as bearing responsibility for developments in Gaza, Israel's initiative in alleviating humanitarian concerns would prevent further intensification of international criticisms.

PROVIDE CONDITIONS FOR A FUTURE TWO-STATE REALITY