Israeli Minister to Demand Cabinet Discuss His Plan to Build Gaza Island Port

The request comes against the backdrop of concern over a humanitarian crisis in the coastal strip that could spark a renewed violence conflagration.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Gaza City, December 2016.
Gaza City, December 2016. Credit: Adel Hana/AP
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Days after the publication of the state comptroller report on the 2014 Gaza war, Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz is expected to ask Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Sunday’s meeting of the security cabinet to hold a substantial discussion regarding Israel’s policies toward Gaza.

The request comes against the backdrop of concern over a humanitarian crisis in the coastal strip that could spark a renewed violence conflagration.

Katz said he would ask the prime minister to hold a discussion regarding a plan that he had put forward to create an island off the Gaza coast where a port and other facilities would be built under Israeli and international supervision. The plan is designed to make it possible for Israel to totally disengage from Gaza and lift its siege of the territory.

“Israel doesn’t have the privilege of waiting. The situation in Gaza demands decisions,” Katz said. “We are proceeding toward a humanitarian crisis or a new round of war or both.”

Over the past year-and-a-half, on several occasions Katz has attempted to have the security cabinet consider his plan for the off-shore island. At the core of the proposal is the 8-square kilometer island itself, which would be connected to the Gaza mainland with a bridge that would be subject to security inspection. In addition to a port, the island would feature energy and water desalination facilities that would address the two main problems facing Gaza’s population. The proposal was discussed briefly at several previous security cabinet meetings but the issue was not considered at length.

Senior Israel Defense Force officers have expressed support for Katz’s idea and are of the view that it should be seriously considered. Up to now, Netanyahu has not expressed enthusiasm on the subject and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has expressed opposition to it. But for his part, Katz said: “The island will make it possible to free ourselves of responsibility for Gaza from a position of strength and allow Gaza an economic outlet to the world while protecting the security interests of the State of Israel.”

Last week, IDF Intelligence Corps chief Herzl Halevi warned of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza that could cause an escalation in the security situation. The state comptroller’s report on Gaza that was issued last week noted the humanitarian distress in Gaza as one of the factors that led to the war there during the summer of 2014. The report also noted that a year and three months before the war, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories had warned the security cabinet that the humanitarian situation in Gaza could explode.

State Comptroller Joseph Shapira stated in this report that the security cabinet didn’t conduct a single substantial discussion of the issue.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage