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January 22, 2017 3:21 pm

Plans to Build Artificial Island Off Gaza Coast Outlined by Israeli Transportation Minister

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Israeli Transportation, Intelligence and Atomic Energy Minister Yisrael Katz. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Israeli Transportation, Intelligence and Atomic Energy Minister Yisrael Katz. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org — Israel’s transportation minister presented ambitious regional plans to the security cabinet Sunday, including a proposal to build an artificial island off the coast of Gaza to serve as a port for Palestinians.

Israel Katz’s proposal would give the Palestinians an outlet for international trade and transport without endangering Israeli security. The island — which would be connected to Gaza by bridge — would also include desalination and electrical plants.

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.”

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Katz also proposed linking Israel’s rail lines with Jordan to allow Arab countries 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’aleh Adumim, Givat Ze’ev, Gush Etzion and Beitar Illit, while retaining those communities’ municipal independence. Similar municipal authority would be extended to Arab Jerusalem neighborhoods currently cut off by the security fence.

The minister also demanded that Israel clarify its construction policies beyond the 1967 lines.

“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.

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