Likud minister: Israel should let Gaza build a seaport

"If we cut off from Gaza - we would be cut off from half of the Palestinian problem," says Intelligence Minister Israel Katz.

March 13, 2016 11:29
1 minute read.
Gaza City

Palestinians stand atop a boat at Gaza's seaport in Gaza City October 16. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Intelligence Minister Israel Katz on Sunday said that Palestinians should be permitted to build a seaport in Gaza as part of efforts to completely separate Israel from the Strip.

"If we cut off from Gaza - we would be cut off from half of the Palestinian problem," he told Israel Radio.

In his call for a port in the coastal Palestinian territory, Katz proposed that the international community should oversee access to such a terminal under Israeli security control.

"The absurd thing is that we evacuated all of the Jews from the Gaza Strip, yet the world regards it as if we remained responsible for it," he said in the radio interview.

Hamas has said that any long-term truce agreement with Israel should include the reopening of the airport and the building of a seaport in the Gaza Strip.

The airport, which is named after Yasser Arafat, is located in the southern Gaza Strip. It stopped operating at the beginning of the second intifada, when the IDF destroyed parts of its tarmac.

In February, the top Israeli official in charge of liaising between the government and the Palestinian territories 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 relations 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 from Gaza in a 2007 coup. Since then, the territory has been blockaded by both Israel and Egypt.

Yasser Okbi/Maariv Hashavua contributed to this report.

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