Can Palestinian Ports Be Developed in Gaza to Relieve the Humanitarian Crisis?

  • In mid-January 2018, Israel destroyed a Hamas attack tunnel that passed under the Kerem Shalom crossing into Israeli territory and from there into Egypt.1 The event sparked a debate in Israel about the proper policy on the border crossings to and from Palestinian territories.

  • Now that the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation initiative has failed, the situation remains as it has been: sporadic, unregulated opening and closing of the crossing by Egypt, with Hamas personnel on the Palestinian side even though the crossing was officially handed over to the Palestinian Authority.

  • Amid the public Palestinian and international discussion of Gazan Palestinians’ desire to emigrate, a system of exit and entry in both directions needs to be devised. Considering that Gaza is controlled by Hamas, a terror organization, the system must include the necessary security arrangements.

  • Israeli security sources stressed that improving the situation in Gaza, including relieving the sense of suffocation, is an Israeli security interest because it could prevent an internal explosion that would probably affect Israel. Planning, however, is concentrated on the movement of goods, and not the movement of people, the sources admitted.
  • Various plans have been presented for establishing Gazan port facilities. They are detailed in this report:

    • Use an existing Israeli port and transport cargo to Gaza through Israel.

    • Build a new port in Gaza.

    • Build an artificial island opposite Gaza with bridges to Gaza.

    • Build a port on the Egyptian side of the border with Gaza....

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