Mofaz plan offers economic aid for Gaza demilitarization
Former defense minister submits initiative to offer Palestinian Authority funds for infrastructure, welfare in exchange for giving up rockets, missiles.
As part of discussions around a potential ceasefire, the Security Cabinet is expected to deliberate the details of a new $50 billion economic initiative in exchange for demilitarization of Gaza put forth Sunday by former defense minister and IDF chief of staff Shaul Mofaz.
The Knesset member spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about his plan last week, during a session of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee conducted in the Kirya in Tel Aviv; today Mofaz submitted the detailed initiative to the chair of the National Security Council.
"Without achieving a significant deterrence and exacting a heavy price from Hamas, it will be difficult to reach an end scenario which provides security for Israeli citizens and maintain their safety over time," wrote Mofaz in the proposal.
"We need another end game that will restore long term security, not just in the immediate future."
Mofaz believes that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, other Arab states, and – principally – the United States must play a role and have a duty to shape the end game.
"President Barack Obama's offer to mediate the current round between Israel and Hamas, in addition to the US and Western states involvement in depriving Syria from chemical weapons, will bolster Israeli demands to remove rockets and missiles from the Gaza Strip, and generally neutralize the terror tunnels into Israeli territory," said Mofaz.
According to the Kadima chairman, "in return the conditions of the Strip's population will improve and there will be a strategic, economic aid package for Gaza residents. Meanwhile, the policy on the opening of crossings will ease, conditioned on maintaining the safety of Israel."
Mofaz said Israel would benefit in a multitude of ways – by having the threat of missiles, rockets and terror tunnels lifted and through "a significant increase in the legitimization of the State of Israel if the agreement is broken on the Palestinian side."
For the people of Gaza, Israel would offer a "significant, economic aid package for the Palestinian population that would include a budget of $50 billion over five years for infrastructure, welfare, healthcare, education, and employment."
According to Mofaz, the demilitarization must be a fundamental principle in any future security arrangements with the Palestinian Authority; the demilitarization of Gaza is essential to any future agreement in the West Bank.
"This proposal will be a frame to any future regional agreement with Abu Mazen and moderate Arab state. At the same time as the military attack, Israel must come out right now with a propaganda offensive and enlist international support for the demilitarization of Gaza from missiles, rockets, and terror tunnels."
The Kadima politician emphasized that "when Israel achieves its operational targets and Hamas demands a ceasefire, there will be an opportunity to make a fundamental change and break the cycle of fighting."