A conference in Brussels on the struggling Palestinian economy has ended with Israel presenting a plan that would offer $1 billion in aid projects centered on the Gaza Strip, conditioned on the Palestinian Authority taking control of the strip.
The Palestinian Authority is already in the process of taking over the Gaza Strip, as part of an Egypt-negotiated unity deal that would bring Hamas and Fatah into a deal for free elections across Palestine.
Israel, ironically, has angrily opposed the unity deal repeatedly, though when couched in terms of what the unity deal would result in, it’s exactly what Israel now says they want to see happen. The unity deal is going slower than was expected, but no one has withdrawn from it yet.
Aid programs within the Gaza Strip, including desalinization and electricity infrastructure, are extremely rare, with Israel having made a policy of cutting off even the most basic aid to Gaza for years. Heavily criticized internationally for this policy, Israel’s offer may suggest a substantial change in policy.
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