Gaza’s governing body Hamas wants to build an industrial city and markets near the Egyptian border. While undoubtedly of benefit to the strip, the success of such a project could harm Egypt economically, an expert has warned.
Hamas officials made the announcement at a press conference on Monday, state-run MENA reported. Hamas said the project falls under Hamas’ policy for bettering the economic situation in Gaza.
Saeed Okasha, an expert at the Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, said he did not expect resistance to the project from Israel. He believed economic prosperity in Gaza would give make Gazans something to defend, making them less inclined to violent opposition to Israel.
He believed the project would decrease the security burden of Israel. “Economic peace might for example solve the problem of the refugees’ return,” he said.
However Okasha warned that local manufacturing in Gaza could harm Egypt economically by decreasing exports to the Palestinian enclave.
However he believed as long as Egypt’s security is not at risk, the government would likely accept possible economic losses stemming from the project.
Egyptians authorities have recently allowed Qatari building material through the Rafah border crossing, for the first time since Gaza was besieged.
Following eight-days of conflict between Hamas and Israel, a ceasefire agreement was reached last November. The agreement lifted restrictions on the movement of people and goods in the enclave.
The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.