TEL AVIV (Jun. 8)
Transport Minister Gad Yaacobi disclosed that the government plans to build a third deep-water harbor on Israel’s Mediterranean coast and that the best site by far is at Yamit in the Pithat Rafiah region between the Gaza Strip and northern Sinai. Yaacobi, who inspected the coastline, there Friday, said the additional harbor would be needed by the mid 1980’s. He said it would take three years to study and plan the project and eight years to build the harbor and therefore a decision must be made quickly. Israel’s present deep-water harbors are at Haifa and Ashkelon.
The Rafiah area has been the subject of controversy since the army appropriated it several years ago as a security zone, forcing the relocation of Bedouin tribes in the region. Yaacobi stressed that the area will remain under Israeli control and in fact, has never entered into the debates over the future of the administered territories so there was no cause for argument over investing in Yamit. The Housing Ministry announced a week ago that Israelis may register for future housing at Yamit which is intended to become and industrial area and tourist resort.