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Intelligence minister promotes plan for Gaza seaport

Intelligence and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz says he is pushing forward with a proposal to build an artificial island with a seaport off the coast of Hamas-ruled Gaza that he believes will alleviate hardship in the blockaded territory and offer residents their first real bridge to the outside world in a decade.

With an independent Palestinian state unlikely anytime soon, Katz tells The Associated Press that an island for moving goods in and out of Gaza is part of his broader goal of creating regional security and “economic peace” between Israel and its neighbors.

Gazma fishing boats at work off the coast of the Gaza Strip on April 3, 2016. (AFP/Mahmud Hams)
Gazma fishing boats at work off the coast of the Gaza Strip on April 3, 2016. (AFP/Mahmud Hams)

Katz’s plan calls for an eight-square-kilometer (three-square-mile) island linked to Gaza by a five-kilometer (three-mile) bridge. The island, estimated to cost $5 billion, would take five years to build and include a seaport, a power station, a desalination plant and perhaps a future airport. Israel would supervise security but it would otherwise be run by the Palestinians and the international community — which he says would mark the completion of Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from Gaza.

— AP

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