Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said he had presented the plan to "partners in the Arab world", as well as to the United States, Russia and the European Union.

A Palestinian man inspects the damage of a poultry farm following early morning Israeli air strikes in town of Rafah, southern Gaza on September 12, 2021.
A Palestinian man inspects the damage of a poultry farm following early morning Israeli air strikes in town of Rafah, southern Gaza on September 12, 2021. (AP)

Israel's foreign minister has proposed a plan to improve living conditions in Gaza in exchange for calm from the enclave's Hamas group, aiming to solve "never-ending rounds of violence".

In the first stage of the plan, the infrastructure in Gaza would receive a sorely needed upgrade, Lapid said in a speech at the Reichman University in Herzliya on Sunday.

Lapid, due to take over as premier in two years as part of a rotation agreement, conceded that his plan does not yet amount to official policy in Israel's eight-party coalition government, but said it had support from Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

He stressed that he was not calling for negotiations with Hamas.

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Rebuilding infrastructure

"The electricity system will be repaired, gas will be connected, a water desalination plan will be built, significant improvements to the healthcare system and a rebuilding of housing and transport infrastructure will take place," he said.

"In exchange, Hamas will commit to long-term quiet," he added, noting the international community would play a role in the process, especially Egypt, to Gaza's south.

"It won't happen without the support and involvement of our Egyptian partners and without their ability to talk to everyone involved," Lapid said.

"Any breach by Hamas will stop the process or set it back," he warned.

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Port construction

If the first stage were to go smoothly, Gaza would then see the construction of an artificial island off its coast that would allow the creation of a port, and a "transportation link" between Gaza and the occupied West Bank would be created.

Lapid said he had presented the plan to "partners in the Arab world", as well as to the United States, Russia and the European Union.

"There is still work to do, we're still on the drawing board, but if this plan has a chance to succeed and gains widespread support, I'll propose it to the government as the official position," he said.

Israel and Hamas fought their last full-scale war in May, the fourth since 2008. The conflict ended in an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in late May that Israeli air strikes on the territory had resulted in "the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure."

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Source: AFP