Israel denies reports it okayed Gaza seaport in talks with Turkey

By YASSER OKBI/ MAARIV HASHAVUA
February 26, 2016 21:39




The top Israeli official in charge of liaising between the government and the Palestinian territories told a Saudi news site on Friday that there are no discussions between Jerusalem and Ankara on the building of a seaport in the Gaza Strip.

Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the coordinator of government activities in the territories (COGAT), told Elaph that reports quoting Hamas and Turkish officials to the effect that Israel had agreed to the building of a Gaza seaport were false.

Mordechai said that if and when Israel did agree to the construction and operation of a seaport in Gaza, it would only be as part of understandings reached with the Palestinian Authority.

Israel recognizes the PA as the autonomous administrative body of the Palestinians by dint of the Oslo Accords, yet there are no official contacts with Hamas, an Islamist group that has refused to recognize Israel's right to exist.

Hamas militants removed PA forces loyal to the rival Fatah movement in a 2007 coup in the Gaza Strip. Since then, the territory has been blockaded by both Israel and Egypt.

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