Middle East

Israeli minister suggests offshore seaport for Gaza

File - In this Sunday, April 17, 2016 file photo, Palestinians protect themselves from the sun at the fishermen port in Gaza City. Israel's transportation minister Yisrael Katz said he is pushing for the construction of an "artificial island" off the coast of Hamas-ruled Gaza to alleviate hardship in the blockaded coastal strip.With Israel and Egypt maintaining a naval blockade of Gaza, the Palestinians have long been pleading for a port to connect them to the rest of the world. (AP Photo/Adel Hana, File)

File - In this Sunday, April 17, 2016 file photo, Palestinians protect themselves from the sun at the fishermen port in Gaza City. Israel's transportation minister Yisrael Katz said he is pushing for the construction of an "artificial island" off the coast of Hamas-ruled Gaza to alleviate hardship in the blockaded coastal strip.With Israel and Egypt maintaining a naval blockade of Gaza, the Palestinians have long been pleading for a port to connect them to the rest of the world. (AP Photo/Adel Hana, File)  (The Associated Press)

Israel's transportation minister says he is pushing for the construction of an "artificial island" off the coast of Hamas-ruled Gaza to alleviate hardship in the blockaded coastal strip.

Yisrael Katz says Monday his plan calls for an eight square kilometer (three square mile) island linked to Gaza by a five kilometer (three-mile) bridge. He says the island, estimated to cost $5 billion, would include a port and perhaps a future airport. Israel would supervise security checks but it would otherwise be run by Palestinians and the international community.

With Israel and Egypt maintaining a naval blockade of Gaza, the Palestinians have long been pleading for a port to connect them to the rest of the world.

Katz says Israel has no objection as long as its security needs are met.