Israeli official outlines plans to build an artificial island off Gaza Strip



The northern Gaza Strip from an observation point in southern Israel. Credit: Doron Horowitz/Flash90.

( Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz presented ambitious regional plans to the country's security cabinet Sunday, including a proposal to be build an artificial island off the coast of the Gaza Strip to serve as a port for Palestinians. 

Katz’s proposal calls for building an artificial island linked by a bridge to Gaza to give the Palestinians an outlet to the world without endangering Israeli security. The island would also include a desalination and electrical plant. 

According to the Jerusalem Post, Katz’s plans are among a “growing number of ideas for addressing the Palestinian issue that have emerged from ministers and Knesset members in recent weeks coinciding with the change of government in Washington.”

Katz also proposed linking Israel’s rail lines with Jordan to allow Arab governments to the east, including the Palestinian Authority, to transport their goods to Haifa for global shipment. 

At the same time, Katz called for the establishment of a “greater Jerusalem” that would expand the capital’s borders to include sovereignty over neighboring Jewish settlements such as Ma’ale Adumim, Givat Ze’ev, Gush Etzion and Beitar Illit. Similarly, municipal authority would be extended to Arab Jerusalem neighborhoods cut off by the Israeli security fence.

“This plan strengthens Israel’s position and improves the situation in the region and does not preclude the possibility of negotiations or arrangements in the future,” Katz said.

Posted on January 23, 2017 .