While it might sound like an April Fool’s post, we assure you that Israel’s recently announced plans to build a $10 billion artificial island off the coast of Gaza are 100% real. The United Arab Emirates have a disastrous love affair with artificial islands (if you hadn’t heard, “The World” islands are already sinking) but until now Israel has been fairly wary of projects that could negatively impact the Mediterranean sea and shore. According to the folks at Green Prophet, the 10 year project will create a portal for goods going into Gaza, but environmentalists call it “sheer madness.”
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz told the Guardian that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supports what would be a three square mile artificial island linked to Gaza by a three mile bridge. The country’s environmental ministry was not consulted. In order to secure Israel, a tiny country the size of New Jersey surrounded by mostly hostile neighbors, Gaza is under international protection and is likely to stay so for another century. An offshore port will give the people living in Gaza access to goods without compromising Israel’s security, while the planned marina and hotels will attract tourist revenue.
But artificial islands are bad for the environment since they create erosion and disrupt the marine ecosystem in which they are built. Gideon Bromberg, Director of Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME), says the project makes no sense, and that it will have deleterious effects up and down the coast of Gaza and Israel. Much folly happens in the name of security; this artificial island, if it comes to fruition, will be another case in point.
Via Green Prophet