Israel's caretaker PM Yair Lapid seeks 'new approach' to besieged Gaza

Israel's caretaker PM Yair Lapid seeks 'new approach' to besieged Gaza
Top Israeli politicians set out the new government's position on Gaza and Hamas on Sunday evening, claiming that Israel 'has nothing against the residents of Gaza'.
2 min read
11 July, 2022
New caretaker PM Yair Lapid also called for 'more unity' among Israelis [Getty]

Israel must find "better solutions" in its approach to the Gaza Strip and honour "sacred obligations" to bring home the bodies of fallen soldiers, caretaker prime minister Yair Lapid said on Sunday evening. 

Lapid was addressing Israeli military officials and politicians in Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl military cemetery commemorating eight years since Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza

Some 2,000 Palestinians were killed and more than 11,000 injured in the 50-day barrage that Israel dubbed Operation Protective Edge; 74 Israelis were also killed during the war. 

More than 160,000 houses in Gaza were destroyed or damaged.

The bodies of two soldiers killed during the assault were seized by Hamas and have been held as a bargaining tool to secure the release of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. 

Both Lapid and defence minister Benny Gantz vowed to reclaim the two soldiers’ remains, as well as those of two other Israeli citizens held captive in Gaza. 

“We will continue to turn every stone, and take every action to maintain peace and stability,” said Gantz.

Lapid also pledged that it is Israel’s responsibility to "make the civilian population in Gaza realise that they can live a different life", promoting the ‘Economy-for-Security’ plan.  

The Israeli government has allegedly increased the number of work permits for Palestinians living in Gaza to work inside Israel in construction, farming and other manual labour sectors. 

Gantz concluded his address by alleging that Israel has "nothing against the residents of Gaza". 

Fifteen years of a strict blockade and repeated military attacks on the coastal enclave have killed thousands and brought the local economy to its knees. 

Four out of five children in Gaza suffer from emotional distress, according to Britain-based NGO Save the Children.

Human Rights Watch has dubbed the blockade on Gaza a "crime against humanity", comparing conditions in the Palestinian territory to an "open-air prison".