Hamas Preparing Seaport for International Travel

In what appears to be a unilateral move, Gaza is preparing to ready its seaport for international travel despite Israel's objections.

Ben Ariel ,

Palestinian Arab fishermen walk along the beach of Gaza City
Palestinian Arab fishermen walk along the beach of Gaza City

A ministerial committee in Hamas-controlled Gaza announced plans on Sunday to prepare the enclave's sole seaport to allow Palestinian Arabs to travel abroad, AFP reported.

Alaa al-Batta, spokesman for the “committee formed to lift the blockade”, said preparations are under way to launch a boat service for the sick and students studying overseas within two months.

The port in Gaza City is currently restricted to fishermen, whom Israel only allows to fish up to a maximum of six nautical miles from the shore, due to the fact that Gaza terrorists often try to smuggle weapons into the Hamas stronghold under the guise of fishing vessels.

Opening an airport and seaport was one of the main demands of Hamas to be tabled during negotiations with Israel to firm up a truce agreement which ended a 50-day war in July and August.

The negotiations, however, failed to get off the ground and the demand was never tabled and now, it appears, Hamas is unilaterally working to get these projects underway.

"We are taking the necessary measures to allow maritime transport and to prepare for the construction of a port which will link Gaza with the outside world," Batta said, according to AFP.

There was no immediate reaction from Israel to the Gaza port plan. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has in the past made clear that “there is no chance” that Hamas will receive a seaport in Gaza.