Haaretz Peace Conference |

Israel Has No Policy on Gaza, Minister Admits After Decision to Curb Strip's Power Supply

Yisrael Katz slams the government's inability to decide on the construction of an artificial island off Gaza's shore

new-hdc-logo
Haaretz
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz at Haaretz's Israel Conference for Peace, June 12, 2017.
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz at Haaretz's Israel Conference for Peace, June 12, 2017.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
new-hdc-logo
Haaretz

>> Follow live updates from Haaretz's Israel Conference on Peace <<

Intelligence Affairs Minister Yisrael Katz said Monday that "Israel has no policy for Gaza, only decisions."

The minister made the comment at Haaretz's Israel Conference on Peace after being asked about reducing the electricity supply to Gaza. "Israel constantly faces dilemmas, between what Doctors without Borders and Abu Mazen [Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas] want on a given day," Katz added.

On Sunday, the security cabinet decided to accept the request of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and reduce the supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip. That complies with the Israeli army's recommendation against leniency toward Hamas, which controls Gaza, according to an Israeli official.

"First and foremost the Israeli interest should be protected," Katz said.

He added that he had opposed Israel's unilateral disengagement from Gaza in 2005. But since it is a fait accompli, two million people, the population of Gaza, can't be left "trapped without a port," said the minister, who holds the transportation portfolio.

Katz also revisited the idea of building an airport on an artificial island off Gaza. The entire military establishment supports the idea, he said. Meanwhile, Katz said, the Israeli "stupidity" and inability to make decisions has been going on for years, he said. "A decision has to be made."

He declined to answer a question about whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supports the Gaza airport idea, but said, "Give us the permission and I'll handle it. I'll take the right people from the Transport Ministry and Shin Bet. Finally we can go around the world showing a positive initiative from the region."

Changing subject to the Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, Katz said he suggested giving the Arab neighborhoods beyond the fence "their own municipal rights There is a profound argument over Jerusalem, which is not being resolved for the time being." He would approve municipal rights without changing the boundaries of Jerusalem, Katz said.

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

Crowds at Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport, in April.

U.S. Official: West Bank Entry for Palestinian Americans Unrelated to Israeli Visa Waivers

Haaretz spoke with several people who said they had fled Ukraine, arrived in Israel,  and were asked to undergo DNA tests in order to establish paternity.

'My Jewish Grandmother Has a Number on Her Arm, Why Does Israel Greet Me This Way?'

FILE PHOTO: A Star of David hangs from a fence outside the dormant landmark Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood in 2021.

American Judaism Is in Decline. That's Great News for American Jews

People taking part in the annual "March of the Living" to commemorate the Holocaust, between the former death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland, four years ago.

It’s Not Just the Holocaust. Israel Is Failing to Teach the History of the Jews

 A Jewish cemetery in Warsaw, Poland.

Israel and Poland Fight Over History, Truth - and Israeli Students

A collage of the Bentwich family throughout the generations.

Unique Burial Plot in Jerusalem Tells Story of Extraordinary Jewish Dynasty