It seems that it is not only Dubai that harbours ridiculous dreams of artificial islands– Israel does too. Israeli minister for transport Yisreal Katz recently revealed that plans to construct an artificial island off the coast of Gaza had been encouraged by the PM Benjamin Netanyahu and may be getting the green light soon.
It is believed that the island project will cost an estimated $10 billion and take up to 10 years to finish. Gideon Bromberg, director of Friends of the Earth Middle East told the Guardian that the project is “complete madness”.
Katz said the plans had been under consideration for some time and had already attracted investors. The three square mile Island would be linked to Gaza via a three-mile long bridge and will also include a marina and hotels to attract tourists.
Israeli director of Friend of the Earth Middle East Bromberg spoke to the Guardian:
“This sort of thing makes no sense whatsoever. The environmental implications would be felt along the coast of Gaza and Israel.
Even the building of a marina caused a two-mile scar of beach erosion in Israel which the developer’s planning had not predicted. The public should be very sceptical.”
It was also reported that the Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection had not been consulted on the project.
The Gaza Strip’s own airport was destroyed by the Israeli army back in 2002 and the enclave has been under a tight naval blockade since 2007. Gaza has a small fishing port but it doesn’t have anything to deal with commerical shipping. Israel has only allowed limited goods to enter and leave Gaza since 2007 although Gazans have taken to smuggling goods from Egypt through tunnels.
Although Israeli spokesmen have insisted that the artificial island will also benefit Palestinians, commentators have remarked that simpler steps could be taken. I can think one myself which that wouldn’t’ decimate the already devastated ecosystems around Gaza– end the blockade.
:: Image via Olly L via flickr.
For more news in Israel see: