The New York Times Israel correspondent, Jodi Rudoren, is dreaming along with Hamas of a seaport in Gaza.
"SHEIK EJLEEN, Gaza Strip — An unmarked dirt lot about the size of a football field, on a cliff above the crashing waves of the Mediterranean, could be a crucial element in ending the monthlong battle between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip." . . .“People here, when I used to tell them I was working for a port, they would say, ‘There is no port,’ ” Mr. Obaid said. “Now people are saying, ‘There will be a port, this is your time.’ ”
The official Israeli position is that Gazans should forget about cargo freighters and deepwater harbors. . . .The fear is that every ship comes loaded with weapons for Hamas,
There are Israelis with military credentials who see a sea port as a useful carrot to offer Hamas, but it would come along with severe international and Israeli controls. The Post quotes Retired Major General Giora Eiland, a former National Security Advisor and frequent media commentator.
Israel could require that all ships first dock in Italy, Greece or Cyprus, where the cargo could be inspected and manifests checked. Then the freighters could be escorted into Israeli waters.
"The establishment of a port would be a severe threat to Israel''s security. It would quickly become an Iranian port, which would facilitate the smuggling of merchandise and munitions to an unprecedented extent. The primary reason for Israel to control the full perimeter of Palestinian territory is to assure that there in no entry of munitions or terrorists."
Israel''s position on an airport for Gaza is no different.
The opening of Arafat International in 1998 was a signal achievement for the nascent Palestinian state and was attended by Arafat, who stood beside President Bill Clinton and wept. For two years, the airport near the Egyptian border — its code GZA — was the hub for Palestinian Airlines and its fleet of three planes, which ferried passengers from Gaza to Amman, Damascus, Abu Dhabi and beyond.The Israelis destroyed the control tower and radar station in 2001 after the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, began. Later, the Israeli military severed the runway and again bombed the airfield facilities in 2009, 2012 and 10 days ago . . .Today, the arrivals and departures terminal at Arafat International, designed by Moroccan architects to resemble the facility at Casablanca, is barely standing. The facility has been bombed, shelled, riddled with bullets and finally stripped bare by scavengers. Even the asphalt for the tarmac has been peeled away, put to use paving roads elsewhere in the seaside enclave.
One should never say never. For the time being, however, the idea of an airport or seaport for Gaza will most likely be left to the dreams of Gazans and the New York Times. Palestinians say that they are serious in demanding air- and sea ports. Egyptians chairing the discussions say there is no point in talking about them.