Israeli Minister of Transportation Israel Katz (Likud) this week presented to foreign media outlets his ambitious plan to create an artificial island just off the coast of the Gaza Strip to provide the area’s residents with a modern airport and seaport.
Katz noted that the project would significantly ease the difficult economic situation in which Gaza finds itself without harming Israel’s security.
Predictably, the Palestinians themselves protested the plan, insisting it was an Israeli scheme to drive a further wedge between Gaza and the so-called “West Bank.”
If implemented, the plan would see the construction of an artificial island eight square kilometers (three square miles) in size and connected to the nearby Gaza shore by a four-mile bridge.
Katz, who is a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet, noted that Israel is keen to ease restrictions on Gaza, but must be assured that its own security needs will be met. Israel’s cabinet will soon vote on the proposal, after which it will seek international partners to help finance and build the $5 billion project.