JERUSALEM, March 31 (UPI) -- A plan to build an artificial island off the Gaza Strip coast is being considered by the Israeli government, Israeli Transport Minister Yisrael Katz said.
Plans would include building an airport and sea port on the island, the British newspaper The Guardian quoted Katz as saying Wednesday. He added Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu encouraged the plan, which has been under consideration for months.
The island would be under international control for at least 100 years to guarantee Israel's security, Katz told Army Radio. "We have built models and there are many entrepreneurs who are interested and prepared to invest billions and make money," he said.
A ministry spokesman told the newspaper the aim of the plan was to improve the quality of life for Gazans.
"The island would be 3 square miles and would be linked to Gaza with a 3-mile-long bridge which could take vehicles, trains and pipes for oil and gas. The island would have hotels, tourist areas, a marina and an airport and seaport," he told the newspaper.
The unnamed spokesman estimated the project would cost about $109 billion, would create 100,000 jobs and would take 10 years to build.