Cyprus mulls Is­raeli re­quest of port for Gaza

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - CYPRUS -

Cyprus is ex­am­in­ing an Is­raeli re­quest to build a port fa­cil­ity on the is­land for the de­liv­ery of goods to res­i­dents 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 De­fence Min­is­ter Avig­dor Liber­man made the pro­posal for Gaza dur­ing a visit last week to the is­land.

Un­der the plan, a spe­cial pier would be con­structed for cargo ships car­ry­ing goods bound for Gaza, around 250 miles from Cyprus. It’s pro­posed lo­ca­tion is un­known.

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

“The de­fence 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 Le­ber­man’s 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. TelA­viv has been pro­mot­ing the Cyprus port idea to cre­ate a con­duit into Gaza that does not go through Is­rael. Se­cu­rity checks would have to be han­dled by Is­rael to­gether with an in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion such as the United Na­tions.

Cyprus is a base for the UNIFIL mar­itime task force, the is­land was used as a stop-off point dur­ing the sea evac­u­a­tion of for­eign na­tion­als from Le­banon in 2006 and Paphos’ mil­i­tary air­field has been used to facilitate in­ter­na­tional hu­man­i­tar­ian mis­sions.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Cyprus

© PressReader. All rights reserved.