Steps to a two state solution: For Israel, for Palestine, for peace
Step Twenty Nine: Support a Palestinian seaport at Haifa
A crucial component of economic independence (see Step 25) is the ability of Palestinian businesses to trade more freely with the rest of the world. Unlike Gaza, the West Bank is landlocked, adding a further barrier to the realisation of this goal. Plans for a seaport in Gaza (see Step 15) should thus be complemented by the construction of a Palestinian seaport in the Israeli coastal city of Haifa. This seaport would be connected to Jenin by a new railine.
To assuage legitimate Israeli security concerns, the IDF’s experimental “door-to-door” plan – which speeds up Palestinian goods entering Israel at border crossings by allowing security officials to remotely inspect the loading of goods into lorries in West Bank factories – could be expanded by the use of marked and locked containers. This would allow goods to be transported securely from the West Bank to the Haifa seaport by rail.
Four years ago, the Israeli government launched a “Tracks for Regional Peace” proposal which would see Haifa’s rail network connected to that of Jordan and then those of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. The Israeli plan also proposed that the Haifa-Jordan line would stop in Jenin, thus connecting the Palestinian economy to that of Israel and Europe to the west, and the Arab world to the east. While the Palestinian Authority refused to support the idea at the time, saying it would not “normalise relations with Israel”, there has been a recent surge in interest in the upgrading and construction of rail lines (some of them hi-speed lines) throughout the region.