COGAT head Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai (IDF) (IDF)
Yoav Mordechai

At a special forum in Europe, the IDF presented Israeli projects that benefit Palestinians, maintain regional stability and encourage economic development.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel

Aiming to maintain regional stability and promote economic development, an Israeli delegation showcased projects launched for the benefit of Palestinian residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

​In light of the difficult economic situation in the Gaza Strip, a special forum of the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) was held in Brussels last Wednesday to raise awareness of the civilian challenges facing Gaza’s residents. The forum was held in order to examine significant, diverse and creative solutions in areas such as infrastructure, energy and employment.

This special session was attended by representatives of the European Union (EU), the US, the United Nations, Egypt, Switzerland, Norway, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The AHLC coordinates international donor support for the Palestinians.

The Israeli delegation was headed by Minister of Regional Cooperation, Tzachi Hanegbi, and included representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Head of the Coordination of Government Activities in the​ Territories (COGAT), Major General Yoav Mordechai.

COGAT is the IDF unit responsible for implementing government policy in Judea and Samaria and vis-à-vis the Gaza Strip.

During the session, Mordechai presented the major projects Israel is promoting in order to assist Gazans. These projects, which were approved in principle by the Israeli government, are awaiting further action by the relevant authorities.

“These important projects aim to develop infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, promote energy solutions and create employment opportunities for Gazans,” COGAT stated.

This includes: connecting​ Gaza to a natural gas infrastructure that will double the electricity supply by adding 140 megawatts of electricity, with a potential for expansion to 560 megawatts; establishing power line “161” from Israel to Gaza which will increase the electricity supply by 30 percent; developing the solar energy in the Gaza Strip for the use of purification plants and hospitals; establishing a large desalination plant for the benefit of the Gazans; and developing a supervised industrial zone to provide work for Gazans.

Gaza currently suffers from a severe lack of power.

During his speech, Mordechai emphasized that while the world develops infrastructure for the residents of the Gaza Strip, Hamas invests in terrorist infrastructure and digs terror tunnels.

In his remarks on Tuesday to the ambassadors of countries in the EU, Mordechai also demanded that the international community pressure the Hamas terror organization and the Palestinian Authority to return the bodies of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, and to release the Israeli civilians they are holding — Avraham Abera Mengistu, Hisham al-Sayed and Juma Ibrahim Abu Ghanima.

‘Start Investing in a Real Future for Palestinians’

Mordechai’s sentiments regarding Hamas’ misuse of aid were echoed by President Donald Trump’s special Mideast envoy, Jason Greenblatt, who last week slammed Hamas for investing in terrorism instead of in the people of Gaza.

“I am deeply angered by Hamas’ continued terror activity, including the digging of tunnels that facilitate terrorist activities,” Greenblatt stated, adding that “such activities show Hamas’ continued exploitation of the people of Gaza and Hamas’ threats to stability and security in the region.”

Greenblatt tweeted, “Hamas literally undermines Gaza’s chance for success—building a terror tunnel under a crossing to Israel that should be a conduit toward a better economy.”

He was referring to a Hamas plot recently exposed by Israel to blow up the Kerem Shalom crossing, a main economic artery into Gaza.

He also pointed out that “a terror tunnel costs roughly $5.9 million to build ($ that belongs to the people of Gaza) plus roughly $30,000 a day in lost revenue when the crossing [between Israel and Gaza is closed as a result” of security threats.

“Gaza needs options besides Hamas and its enablers. Time to stop pouring money into violence and hatred, and to start investing in a real future for Palestinians in Gaza,” he tweeted.