Tel Aviv – Israeli Minister of Transportation and Intelligence Yisrael Katz on Friday said that the country has unveiled plans to build an island port along the coast of the blockaded Gaza Strip.
“It is first and foremost a matter of countering a humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip and opening it up to the world, also to prevent another war with Israel,” Katz’s advisor Arye Shalicar said.
However, there has been no cabinet decision regarding the proposed project, and its implementation will come up against stiff resistance from Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
In 2007, the radical Islamic Palestinian organisation Hamas seized sole power of the Gaza Strip, after which Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade of the narrow coastal territory.
The EU, U.S. and Israel all classify Hamas as a terrorist organisation.
According to Katz’s vision, the island port would be 4.5 km away from the coast and would be connected to the mainland via a bridge, with border controls conducted by Israeli and international police forces.
Liebermann said that the bridge can also be cut off from the mainland using a drawbridge.
“The project would cost roughly 4.4 billion euros (5 billion dollars) which would be financed by the foreign firms and take five years to build.
“It would be like a reward for terrorism.
“Hamas will say that they have gotten millions in investments and a new port for Gaza because of their fight,” he said.
Katz’s plan for the island includes a desalination facility and electric power station.
The Gaza Strip’s roughly 2 million inhabitants suffer from frequent electricity shortages and a lack of drinking water. (dpa/NAN)