AP Interview: Israeli finance minister seeks world aid package to rebuild Gaza if Hamas goes

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Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid is calling on the international community to pull together a massive aid package for Gaza conditioned on the Palestinian Authority returning to power in place of the Islamic militant group Hamas.

Lapid says that Western-leaning Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is the legitimate authority in Gaza, which was been blockaded since Hamas seized control there in 2007.

If Hamas were removed, the blockade would end, achieving Hamas' own stated purpose in its firing of rockets on Israel, Lapid says.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Lapid said that Israeli-Palestinian negotiations currently being mediated by Egypt should lead to a reopening of the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza, with the Gaza side policed by the Palestinian Authority and not Hamas.