Gaza

06.18.12

From the River (In)to the Sea

Open Zion tends to make a lot of jokes about Greater Israel.  But this is really something—Israel is settling the Mediterranean.

Yesterday Israel’s cabinet approved exploration for a lavish artificial island to “solve Israel’s shortage of space for large industrial facilities”—4.5 kilometers off the coast of Gaza. Yep, Gaza, the fifth-most densely populated place on Earth, will be practically across the street from a $1.5 billion industrial Disneyland.

The island will feature a desalination plant, presumably for Israeli consumers.  But according to the ICRC in 2011, “every day hundreds of gallons of waste water are dumped into local waterways that trickle through urban areas in Gaza.” The Island will have an airport (Gaza’s Yassir Arafat International launched a grand total of zero flights in the last dozen years) and a seaport (Gaza’s was destroyed in the 2nd Intifada and never rebuilt), resort hotels, tourist areas, and a marina.  Not unambitious for a country deeper in debt than the United States

PA officials called the project “pure fantasy," and in a way, it almost seems like Israel's building itself a private "Never Never Land"—a place where it can esape the problems of the mainland in general and Gaza in particular.