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Report: Israel studies plan to build island off Gaza Strip
Published Wednesday 30/03/2011 (updated) 31/03/2011 17:10
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Palestinians inspect the damage caused by Israeli troops after their
withdrawal from the Gaza International airport in Rafah on August 10, 2007.
Three missiles were fired at the airport control tower by an Israeli military
helicopter shortly before the pullout. [MaanImages/Hatem Omar]
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel is studying plans to create an artificial island along the Gaza Strip with sea and air ports to be controlled by the Palestinian Authority, an Israeli television channel reported Tuesday.

The project, under development for three months by Transport Minister Yaakov Katz, proposes building a man-made island four kilometers long and two kilometers wide, Israel's Channel 2 television reported.

The area where the island would be is currently under a tight military sea blockade. Israeli warships patrol along the coast, firing on fishing boats that leave the enforced three-nautical-mile fishing zone, unilaterally declared by Israel in 2009.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly backs the plan for the island, which would also contain a tourist area, a marina, hotels and a desalination plant for sea water, the report said. It would be linked to Gaza by a four-kilometer bridge.

It is estimated the project will cost $5-$10 billion and take six to 10 years to complete, the channel reported.

The coastal enclave has been under a strict blockade, and construction materials for some 6,000 homes destroyed by Israeli warplanes during the 2008-9 Israeli offensive Operation Cast Lead have been prohibited from entering the area. Construction is only permitted by international aid groups, who say they have been waiting for the entry of 70,000 tons of material since 2007.

The project's backers in the government would like to see the island managed by Mahmoud Abbas' Palestinian Authority -- freezing out Islamist movement Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip.

Hamas and Abbas' Fatah party have been at loggerheads since the early 1990s. Tensions boiled over in 2007, when the enmity erupted into bloodshed that saw Hamas kick their rivals out of Gaza.

Since then, Gaza has been effectively cut off from the West Bank, which is under the control of Fatah, and the coastal enclave has been under an Israeli naval blockade.
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1 ) Nour / One-State
30/03/2011 12:09
How about Palestine having access to its gas reserves in the Mediterranean, and the halt of Zionist theft?

2 ) simon / Gaza
30/03/2011 13:28
Ha ha, Ma'an News, but April Fool's Day is not until Friday

3 ) Mr.Giggles / USA
30/03/2011 13:47
What madness is this? For what reason would they do this? Security? Laughable (the island would include tourist spots?) I'm truly baffled by this. Who's paying for this exactly?

4 ) eporue / europe
30/03/2011 13:58
huh ? is already april 1st ??? or maybe alcatraz-island ?

5 ) Tobias / US
30/03/2011 15:41

Why would Israel study or plan to build an Island off Gaza ??

If the PLO and Europe are going to use such an Island,
then let the PA build it, and the EU pay for it !!!


6 ) DM / ireland
30/03/2011 15:56
what a ridiculous idea. 5 to 10 billion, when there is already a port, and an airport that are only in need of repair.

7 ) southparkbear / usa
30/03/2011 16:24
closer to libya pending on trafic direction i may like it

8 ) Christopher / USA
30/03/2011 17:37
Israel wants to build an island right next to the natural gas reserves off of the Gazan coast? Fancy that.

9 ) eporue / europe
30/03/2011 18:13
"the palm" as in dubai will be "the menorah" in israel ? nobody falls for it, when its published on april 1st... but was a good one...

10 ) Scotty / UK
30/03/2011 18:23
Just goes to prove that Israel is run by crazy people, sorry Mr Giggles you will be paying for it just add a few billion dollars to the 3 billion per annum your Government gives the Israeli's. Who is laughing now! Netanyahu?

11 ) Colin Wright / USA
30/03/2011 19:12
If the idea is complete the wall around the largest ghetto ever built, I'll point out the Egyptian exit still isn't secure. Then too, '$5--$10 billion' works out to around $5,000 per Gazan. That's not as much as Israel spent per Gazan to simply kill them during 'Cast Lead,' but it's still pretty pricey. The search for an economical 'final solution' goes on...

12 ) Maureen / Australia
30/03/2011 21:26
Where is the money coming from - American tax payers? Meanwhile, Obama ignores Israel's criminal occupation!

13 ) Joe Fattal / USA
31/03/2011 01:53
Sounds good. So next time when Israel and the Palestinians fight it off, Israel can just blow the bridge.

14 ) B.C / Palestine
31/03/2011 18:05
I Agree with Christopher / USA "Israel wants to build an island right next to the natural gas reserves off of the Gazan coast? Fancy that." Israel is killing Palestinians since before existence,starve'em to death, forbids medical aid, kills every independence thread,& now wants to PAY (US probably) $10 BILLIONS! for hotels & spas for Palestinians!,we see what they do to Palestinians inside Israel & west bank before Gaza.. How will it get the $ back? It's to Steal Again More Gaz (% to Traitors)
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