Katz’s Prison ‘Artificial Island’ for Gazans Shocks EU Diplomats

Israel's Foreign Minister Israel Katz and EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell. (Photo: via Ambassador Hair Regev TW Page)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

When finally the European Union decided to be part of finding a workable solution to the genocidal Israeli war on Gaza, Israel’s new Foreign Minister, Yisrael Katz, attended a recent EU meeting only to spark a controversy. 

The EU ministerial meeting on Monday was intended to “discuss the humanitarian crisis engulfing the Gaza Strip and the potential first steps towards a peaceful resolution to the long-term conflict between Israel and Palestine,” Euronews reported

The meeting was reportedly attended by Katz in addition to a representative from the Palestinian Authority, Riyad al-Maliki, although it is reported that the two top officials held separate meetings with their EU counterparts. 

For his part, Katz was in no mood to talk about alleviating the human suffering in Gaza resulting from the Israeli genocide. Instead, he argued that the solution is to displace Gazans into an “artificial island in the Mediterranean Sea near the Gaza coast.”

Katz’s proposal angered Josep Borrell, the bloc’s Foreign Affairs Chief. 

Borrell had described the EU meeting as exceptional, due to its timing and the degree of participation by other EU foreign ministers.

Later on, however, a frustrated Borrell told reporters, following the meeting, that Katz’s proposal was “irrelevant” to the discussion. 

Katz and His Videos 

“I think that the minister could have used his time better to worry about the situation in his country or the high death toll in Gaza,” Borrell told reporters. 

According to Euronews, citing Borrell, Katz came to the conference with two videos, which he played to the attendees. One of the two videos “showed a proposal to build an artificial island in the Mediterranean sea off the Gaza coast that would serve as a commercial hub linking the Gaza Strip with the rest of the world.”

Though it was implied that the island would host Palestinian refugees displaced as a result of the Gaza war, a diplomatic source told Euronews that Katz did not directly suggest that “the island could be used to host Gazans”.

Either way, a disappointed Borrell said that the videos had “little, if not no relevance to the question under discussion.”

In other words, Israel seemed uninterested in discussing European ideas regarding ending the war or the future of the conflict.

Old, New Island 

Europe feels that it has a “moral obligation” to find and propose a solution, Euronews reported. Katz’s behavior, however, showed complete lack of engagement by Israel in any solution, neither for the war nor for ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine. 

Though the idea of displacing Palestinians, which used to be known in Israel as ‘transfer’, is an old idea, the current war in Gaza made the extremist proposal mainstream among Israeli politicians. 

Ministers in Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, in fact the Israeli prime minister himself, have been calling for pushing Palestinians out of Gaza into other regions. Some have suggested the Sinai desert, others suggested Congo. 

Katz’s artificial island idea, however, builds on an old proposal, from 2017 when Katz was then Israel’s transport minister. It was proposed then as “an answer to a reality that is bad for the Palestinians and not good for Israel,” Reuters reported. 

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 25,295 Palestinians have been killed, and 63,000 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7. Palestinian and international estimates say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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