Israel Seeks To Build $5 Billion Artificial Island Off Gaza
Several news sources have reported that the Israeli government is planning to build a $5 billion artificial island off the Gaza Strip.
According to a top government official, this project would provide Palestinians living in Gaza with access to a seaport and, possibly, an airport and hotels. The island would be connected to the mainland by a three-mile bridge. Israeli Minister of Intelligence Israel Katz compared it to New York and the Hudson River.
Source: Israeli Ministry of Transportation & Israel Ports.
Katz, the man behind the plan, said Israel is looking for financial partners to fund the project. So far, Saudi Arabia and China are being considered for the building of the port, although Katz also suggested an unnamed Israeli entrepreneur could undertake the task.
Moreover, Katz assured this isn't a far-fetched idea, but an actual project being discussed among state officials. One of the officials involved in the talks said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “exploring the option,” and the U.S. government has also been briefed on the issue.
However, the Israeli government has not yet discussed the project with Hamas or “the Palestinian Authority, which has nominal control of the strip,” Washington Post reported.
In terms of control, Katz explained the idea was to place a checkpoint, controlled by international authorities, in the middle of the bridge. The island, per se, wouldn't belong to a particular country, but would, instead, count with international legal status and international security forces. However, it is yet unclear who would actually undertake such a task.
But Katz’s plans are even more ambitious.
“We would create electricity, desalination plants. This island will be an island of initiatives of all kinds,” he said.
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