Minister of Transportation and Intelligence Yisrael Katz has presented the "Regional Peace railway" plan, which would link Jordan and the Palestinian Authority to Haifa port. Speaking at a press conference yesterday called to unveil the plan, he said, "At the heart of the initiative, two main elements are proposed: Israel as a land bridge from Europe and the Mediterranean to Jordan and the countries to the east; and Jordan as a continental railway transport conduit," through which goods will travel to Iraq and the Persian Gulf.
At the heart of the plan is two projects. Firstly, extending the Valley Railway line eastwards from Bet Shean to the Jordanian border, and secondly linking the Palestinian Authority to the line with a branch running southwards to Jenin in the West Bank. Katz said, "In recent years, thousands of Turkish trucks come to Haifa port on ships and then cross through Israel to Jordan and the east on this route," Katz observes. "This has become an alternative to the route through Syria, which is blocked because of the war raging there."
He added, "The initiative will create an alternative trade route between east and west, short, fast and cheap as well as safer, especially because of the Iranian threat on the maritime routes in the Persian Gulf and due to the pirates operating in the region. Above and beyond its contribution to the Israeli economy, and the economies of Jordan and the Palestinian Authority, the initiative would link Israel to the region economically and politically and form a pragmatic camp in the region."
Katz continued that the US must take a role in promoting the initiative as shuodl other leading countries in the international community. "In planning, financing and implementation." He said that the plan had already been presented to Justin Greenblatt, the US president's special emissary to the Middle East who said that he was "deeply impressed and prepared to mobilize the US president and the US administration to move the issue forward."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 6, 2017
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