Monday Briefing: Plans for Gaza’s Future

An Israeli strike on Saturday destroyed buildings in a refugee camp in Gaza.Credit…Mohammed Saber/EPA, via Shutterstock

What’s the future of Gaza?

Development agencies and Middle Eastern businesses have been meeting to discuss the eventual reconstruction of Gaza and to develop plans for its long-term economic future. They seek to transform Gaza into a commercial hub centered on trade, tourism and innovation.

But those plans are far removed from today’s dire reality. Israel has been bombarding the enclave for months. It is still weighing whether to invade Rafah, the southern city where more than a million displaced Gazans are sheltering.

And there is no end to the war in sight, even though diplomacy continues. Yesterday President Biden spoke to Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to discuss a possible cease-fire deal, and top diplomats from the U.S. and France traveled to the Middle East for more talks. Once the fighting ends, the transformation would cost tens of billions of dollars. The damage to Gaza’s crucial infrastructure has reached $18.5 billion, according to the World Bank and the U.N.

The plan centers on a series of projects, including a deepwater port, a desalination plant, an online health care service and a transportation corridor connecting Gaza with the West Bank. The most forward-looking components, such as a new currency to replace the Israeli shekel, assume the establishment of Palestinian autonomy, which Netanyahu has vowed to resist.

Aid: A ship with 400 tons of food for Gaza arrived in Israel yesterday. The U.S. military is building a humanitarian pier in Gaza. Read about how it will work.

Hostages: Hamas released a video of two Israeli captives that suggested that they were still alive. Thousands rallied in Tel Aviv on Saturday to push Israel to do more to fight for the release of the hostages.

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