Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Israel planning to build island off Gaza Strip for port

Israel is planning to build an island off the Gaza Strip that would feature a seaport and airport. The facility would free Israel of responsibility for controlling commerce in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority would play a part in managing it.

JERUSALEM // Israel is close to adopting plans to build an island off the Gaza Strip, controlled by an international force, with a seaport and airport to facilitate trade, the transport minister said yesterday.

Yaakov Katz said the project, in which he hoped the Palestinian Authority would play a part, would free Israel of responsibility for controlling commerce with the enclave, which is controlled by Hamas.

"This project aims at a total break with the Gaza Strip, while now Israel continues to be responsible for the trade of this area because we have not permitted the building of a port and airport," Mr Katz said on Army Radio.

"I have sought a solution that would allow us to break all ties with Gaza while maintaining our control over maritime security through the blockade, which is critical in blocking arms traffic."

Since 2007, Gaza has been ruled by the Islamist Hamas, and the enclave is under a naval blockade. Hamas seized control of Gaza when its forces ousted those loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas.

Mr Katz said the plan would allow Israel "to take the initiative, gain international support and open a political horizon on the key question of Gaza, without having to rely on Hamas."

"We are at the point where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should give the green light" to building the island, 4.5 kilometres off the coast and linked with a bridge.

On Tuesday night, Israel's Channel 2 television said Mr Katz was proposing construction of a man-made island four kilometres long and two kilometres wide.

The island, which would have both a seaport and airport, would also contain a tourist area, a marina, hotels and a desalination plant.

The project would cost US$5 billion to $10 billion and take six to 10 years to complete, Channel 2 said.

The project's backers in the government would like to see the island managed by the Palestinian Authority, according to the report, while Mr Katz said only that the "Palestinian Authority could be a partner in the project."

Gaza had an airport in the south. Israeli air strikes in 2001 during the second Palestinian intifada destroyed much of the facility.

The enclave also has a small fishing port near Gaza City, but it is not capable of handling shipping.

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 A Kashmiri voter holds his identity card as he poses for a photograph before casting his ballot at the Jagti settlement some 25 kms from Jammu. AFP PHOTO

Inside India: Election Special, Kashmir

A view of news and daily life on the Indian subcontinent for the week of April 10, 2014.

 Iranian workers at the Iran Khodro auto plant in Tehran on March 18. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

Iran’s love of cars survives devastating sanctions

Sanctions and energy subsidy reductions might have hurt the Iranian automotive industry. But car makers at one factory are still optimistic, Yeganeh Salehi reports from Tehran

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greeted by university students as he leaves Sistan University in Sistan and Baluchestan’s provincial capital of Zahedan on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

In Iran’s most troubled province, Rouhani hears pleas for change

Hassan Rounani aims to connect with residents of far-flung Sistan and Baluchestan province.

 Prince Bandar bin Sultan in Riyadh on March 3, 2007. Hassan Ammar / AFP Photo

Saudi Prince Bandar promised a victory he could not deliver

Saudi Arabia's controversial intelligence chief stepped down this week after rumours that his policies on Syria had fallen out of favour.

 Thai anti-government protesters blow whistles during a rally at the Metropolitan Electricity Authority in Bangkok, Thailand. Rungroj Yongrit / EPA

Best photography from around the world April 23

The NAtional View's photo editors pick the best of the day from around the world

 Aiza Tonida puts out laundry amid the ruins of her parents home in Leyte province that was destroyed when Typhoon Haiyan struck central Philippines on November 8, 2013. Joey Reyna for The National

Filipinos seek Middle East jobs to rebuild lives after Haiyan

Work in the GCC seen as only hope for thousands left homeless and jobless after devastating storm in November.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National