Israel and the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority have discussed building air and seaports on a man-made island off Gaza which would exclude Hamas, according to Israel television Channel 2. The government has not commented on the report.
The idea has been discussed for the past two months among senior officials and has won wide support, Channel 2 added. The proposed two-acre man-made island would give PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas complete control over land and sea imports and exports, while keeping Hamas-controlled Gaza out of the picture. How that control would be defended was not mentioned.
The idea of man-made islands in the Mediterranean Sea was proposed by President Shimon Peres four years ago.
“We must invest in the sea, and stretch our western border in that direction by building artificial islands,” he said at a 2007 conference.
Separate ideas proposed by other officials were to build an international airport a quarter-mile offshore from north Tel Aviv and to build between one and five islands along the central Israel coast between Bat Yam and Netanya as a way of alleviating central Israel's land shortage problem.