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Report: Lieberman wants Gaza as independent entity

July 16, 2010 3:29 P.M. (Updated: July 17, 2010 3:21 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman plans to absolve Israel of responsibility for Gaza, Israeli press reported Friday.

Lieberman reportedly intends the move to achieve the international recognition the 2005 unilateral pullout from Gaza - when Israeli forces removed 21 settlements and thousands of soldiers from the enclave - was envisioned as. Israel's continued presence on Gaza's land and sea borders as well as airspace, prevented the international community from recognizing an end to the occupation.

The Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said Friday, that in closed meetings, Lieberman said he plans to shift his focus from the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah to relations with the Gaza government, stating that nothing should be expected from direct talks with President Mahmoud Abbas.

With European assistance, the report said, Israel’s Foreign Minister plans to lift the siege on Gaza, and allow the coastal enclave to function as a fully independent entity, and added that under the plan, the enclave’s borders with Israel would be hermetically sealed.

The report continued that Israel will allow ships to dock in Gaza following inspection at ports in Greece and Cyprus. European countries will be allowed to implement projects to improve the lives of residents of the Strip, such as a power plant, a desalination plant and a wastewater purification plant.

Lieberman will present his plan to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton during her scheduled visit to Israel next week, Ynet reported.

According to the EU, Ashton will also visit Gaza.

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