An Israeli minister said his government has rejected an EU plan to link the Gaza Strip with the West Bank, according to Israeli media yesterday.
"I made it clear that Gaza will not be linked to Judea and Samaria [the Jewish designation of the West Bank]," Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz told Israel Broadcasting Corporation. "Their plan will remain on paper, and they are completely rejected," he said, as reported by Anadolu Agency (AA).
Israeli media said the EU had prepared a plan for transportation in the West Bank, including Area C, which constitutes about 60 percent of the occupied territory, which is under full Israeli civil and security control. The plan includes "the establishment of an airport, a port and a railway to link the Gaza Strip with the West Bank," the media said.
The EU did not officially inform the Israeli government of the plan.
Katz, meanwhile, proposed "shifting the full responsibility over the Gaza Strip to the international community, while keeping Israel's security control on the port."
Katz has been talking for years now about creating an artificial island off the Gaza coast to allow imports and exports to reach the besieged Palestinian territory. Palestinians insist on linking the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in any final peace agreement with Israel that leads to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
Israel has been at odds with the EU over the Israeli use of live fire targeting unarmed Palestinians as well as Trump's decision to unilaterally withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. As tensions simmer between Israel and EU, a senior European official had warned Israel not to "disparage" Europe, adding that Donald Trump's legacy may be scrapped, according to Israel Television News Company's Hadashot TV news bulletin, The Times of Israel, an Israel-based online newspaper reported. The remarks came after Israel summoned the ambassadors of Spain, Slovenia and Belgium in May over their votes at a U.N. body calling for an international probe of the deadly shootings of dozens of Palestinians on the Gaza border.