Israel could create artificial island off Gaza: FM

Israel could create artificial island off Gaza: FM
Israel Katz's proposal has reportedly caused dismay in Brussels, where the Israeli minister is meeting EU foreign ministers.
2 min read
22 January, 2024
Israeli FM Israel Katz has long advocated for the creation of an island off Gaza's coast [Getty]

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz has said Israel could build an artificial island in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Gaza, The Guardian reported on Monday.

Citing unnamed sources, the London-based newspaper said that Katz's proposal had caused dismay in Brussels, where the Israeli minister was meeting EU foreign ministers to discuss a "comprehensive peace plan".

Israel's Jerusalem Post news site reported that Katz showed the European Foreign Ministers' Council video clips of an artificial island off Gaza's coast, as well as a proposed railway connecting Israel with Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain and the UAE.

"Our goal is clear: the demilitarization and stabilization of Gaza, with Israel maintaining security control to protect our people. Achieving this will open doors to new regional opportunities, allowing us to foster economic and humanitarian initiatives that benefit everyone, including the people of Gaza," Katz was quoted as saying to the EU foreign ministers.

Katz has advocated for the creation of an artificial island off Gaza for years, having proposed the idea in 2011 while serving as transport minister under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The proposal included plans for an international military force to control the island, which would be a shipping hub for Gaza, "for at least 100 years".

The Palestinian Authority dismissed the idea at the time as "pure fantasy".

Israel has been accused of attempting to forcibly expel the population of Gaza in its brutal war on the coastal enclave, which has killed over 25,000 people and displaced over 1.8 million.

Leading government figures, including Netanyahu and far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, have floated the idea of "voluntary immigration" from Gaza – a plan that has been slammed as a euphemism for ethnic cleansing.


This story has been edited, as there has been no official suggestion by the Israeli government that it plans to move Gaza's population to the island