Middle East Affairs

Cyprus mulls Israeli request of port for Gaza

Cyprus mulls Israeli request of port for Gaza

Cyprus mulls Israeli request of port for Gaza
June 26
14:12 2018
  • Under the plan, a special pier would be constructed for cargo ships carrying goods bound for Gaza.
  • Israel controls two land crossings into Gaza and Egypt controls a third, with goods arriving by a ship traveling by truck from Israeli ports to the Strip.

NICOSIA: Cyprus said Tuesday it is examining an Israeli request to build a port facility on the island for the delivery of goods to Palestinians of the blockaded Gaza Strip.

“There is no agreement on this issue” but “there is a relevant request that is under consideration,” deputy government spokeswoman Klelia Vassiliou told reporters.

According to Israeli media, Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman made the proposal for the Palestinian territory during a visit last week to the eastern Mediterranean island.
Under the plan, a special pier would be constructed for cargo ships carrying goods bound for Gaza, around 400 kilometers (250 miles) from Cyprus.

“They would be checked with the help of an Israeli monitoring mechanism to ensure that no weapons were being smuggled” into Gaza, controlled by Hamas, the Jerusalem Post newspaper said.

It said the cargo would then likely be sent to Gaza directly by ferry since the enclave lacks a port large enough for the docking of cargo ships.
Lieberman’s office commented on the proposal on Tuesday.

“The defense minister and security establishment, along with elements in the international community, are leading many initiatives aimed at changing the reality in the Gaza Strip,” a spokesman for his office told AFP.

“Any idea presented to improve the humanitarian situation would be conditioned on solving the issue of the captives (Israelis held in Gaza) and MIAs,” or soldiers gone missing there since 2014.

“Beyond that we can’t provide details.”
Israel controls two land crossings into Gaza and Egypt controls a third.
The Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border is often closed, and it is not designed for the passage of cargo as most commercial and humanitarian goods enter Gaza through the Kerem Shalom post with Israel.

Goods that arrive by ship travel by truck from Israeli ports to the Strip.
The international community has heavily criticized the restrictions, including security curbs that Israel has imposed on Gaza since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007.

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