Israel has unveiled more details of its controversial plan to build an artificial island off the Gaza Strip.
The five billion euro project, which includes a cargo terminal and an airport, is designed, Israel says, to boost the impoverished Palestinian enclave’s economy and the humanitarian needs of its nearly two million residents.
The Islamist militant group Hamas has controlled Gaza for much of the past decade but Israel says it’s widely perceived as being responsible for the territory as it’s largely the only lifeline to it.
“I don’t have any illusion about the Hamas, we know who is the Hamas, who is Yehya Sinwar (Hamas leader in Gaza) and the other people there. But I’m trying to separate between the civilian problems and military problems,” said Israel Katz, Israeli Intelligence and Transport minister.
Over the past decade Israel and neighbouring Egypt have maintained a tight blockade on Gaza, restricting the flow of goods and people, in part to pressure Hamas.
Hamas has not commented on the plans but the Israeli cabinet is described as divided over the project with the some against the proposal because of Hamas’ rule.