Plans to build artificial island off Gaza outlined by Israeli official

Israel’s transportation minister proposed a plan which he hopes will enable the Jewish state to completely disengage from Gaza. 

Israeli Transportation Minister Israel Katz presented ambitious regional plans to the security cabinet on Sunday, which included a proposal to 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 Palestinians an outlet to the world without endangering Israeli security. The island would also include a desalination and an electrical plant.

Such plans have been circulating for years, at least since 2011.

In 2014, Katz said he viewed the implementation of the plan as the final stage of Israel’s disengagement form Gaza, which began with Israel’s’ withdrawal in the summer of 2005.

He hopes the construction will make Gaza self-sufficient and enable Israel to cease its supply of power and other services to the Strip.

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 countries to the east, including the Palestinian Authority (PA), to transport their goods to Haifa for global shipment.

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

By: JNS.org and United with Israel