Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip, as seen from the Israeli side of the border between Israel and Gaza, May 29, 2018.
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
Barring any last-minute changes, the cabinet is set to decide on Sunday about a program to improve the situation in the Gaza Strip, easing and preventing the humanitarian crisis there. The cabinet is expected to be presented with a number of options, including MK Israel Katz's "artificial island" proposition, which will be officially presented and discussed, but the biggest proposal is a large reconstruction program prepared by UN Envoy to the Middle Easy Nikolay Mladenov.
High-level Israeli political sources told Ma'ariv, "Mladenov is working diligently on a large project based in part on a plan presented by Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen Yoav (Poli) Mordechai." In the project, factories and infrastructure to aid the recovery of Gaza would be established in the Sinai Peninsula, and perhaps the Strip itself, using funds raised by the UN and donations by the international community.
Mladenov has established good relations with top Israeli leadership and enjoys the confidence of senior officials, including Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. Liberman said on Tuesday that those who think improving the humanitarian situation in Gaza will change the reality along the border fence and stop Hamas's efforts to harm Israel are mistaken. Liberman is skeptical of the efforts to rebuild the Strip but will apparently not intervene in Mladenov's plan. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also spoken in recent days about the urgency of easing the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip and may present his own plans for this purpose.
At the same time, the political-security echelon is intensifying its confrontation with the terror kites that are burning Israeli regions surrounding the Gaza Strip. Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan demanded on Tuesday to consider every terror kite operative as a terrorist and to use real-time countermeasures against them in the same way they are used against terrorists who launch rockets at Israel.
Within the IDF, the request is being ignored, as military sources say the kites are being launched from homes and there is no possibility of destroying a house every time a kite is launched, as there are usually children present and an attack on children, which also causes environmental damage, will do more harm to Israel than the kites themselves. Another possibility is a strategic decision to consider the kites a threat to damage the border fence and charge Hamas a price for every kite flown toward Israel. The kites, once marginal, have become a burning issue.