First Publication: Artificial island for final disengagement from Gaza
In recent months the Government formulated an idea put forward by senior
officials and it won wide support. According to plan, an area off the coast
of the Gaza Strip will be drained for sea and air ports to be set up -
hopefully separating the area completely. The unusual move is being
coordinated with the Palestinian Authority while Hamas is out of the
Udi Segal | News 2 | Posted 29/03/11 20:35 [Translation by IMRA]
Is the solution to the complex situation with Gaza in the sea? Israel
recently developed a secret plan designed to bring a definitive
disengagement from Gaza. In what initially may sound bizarre, the
establishment of an artificial island off the coast of Gaza is being
promoted seriously and with determination seriously by state officials.
Transport Minister Israel Katz conceived the idea with the knowledge of
Prime Minister Netanyahu and enthusiastic support of President Shimon Peres.
Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan was mentioned as one of those involved.
According to the prepared possible model, an island will be formed in the
sea within 4.5 kilometers from the shores of Gaza which will container 8000
dunam connected to the Gaza Strip by a bridge, similar to the bridge now
serving the power stations in Hadera and Ashkelon.
The island would have a sea port, airport, along with logistical areas,
tourist areas and hotels, facilities, electricity, water and more. All these
are designed to allow the Gaza Strip access to the outside world without any
Israeli involvement, without this causing security risks while allowing for
a release from the effects of the blockade.
This policy can continue the closure of the Gaza Strip, while control of the
island - which would be a demilitarized zone - will be transferred to
international forces such as NATO, to monitor the movement of people from
Hamas out of bounds
Access to the island will be possible only through the bridge to be erected,
and it would be coordinated with the Palestinian Authority with no Hamas
involvement in the project. So far the project has received much interest
and support. It has an estimated cost of 5-10 billion dollars.
Establishment of the island with its facilities is expected to take between
half a decade and a decade.
The planning of the project has been assigned to a planning team of experts
who have been working on it already for three months, and it is waiting now
for the green light from the prime minister. Among other things, it will be
possible to take the island territory into account in the territorial
exchange agreement negotiated in the permanent status agreement between
Israel and the Palestinians. In the absence of a political initiative on the
horizon, it appears the project is a fresh breeze from the Netanyahu