Posts Tagged ‘harbor’
In a rare interview to the Arab daily Al-Quds, published in eastern Jerusalem, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warned on Monday that “the next war in Gaza will be the last one.” However, in the same interview, Liberman said he supports the two state solution, and, “If Hamas stops digging the tunnels and shooting rockets, Israel would be the first country to aid in constructing a harbor and an airport in Gaza.” He did note that this promise is only his own vision and not official Israeli government policy.
Liberman insisted Israel has no plans to retake the Gaza Strip, or build new settlements there. But he criticized Hamas for its designs against Israel, saying they spend about $26 million every month on their military activities.
Speaking to journalist Mohammed Abu Hadir, Liberman accused the Palestinian leadership of being an obstacle to peace. He said PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was not seeking peace, and said he incited violence rather than work against it. “We need someone other than Abu Mazen (Abbas’s nom de guerre) to sign a final agreement,” Liberman said, accusing the chairman of stubbornly resisting peace.
Liberman noted that Jewish communities take up only 1.4% of Judea and Samaria and as such are not an obstacle to the peace process. He also noted that the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria are under attack every day, and he believes the two sides would be better off separated. However, he insisted, without mutual trust there cannot be peace negotiations.
The defense minister was highly critical of Arab society, saying that in the absolute majority of cases, violence there is the result of internal conflicts in the Muslim society rather than clashes with Israel. Needless to say, the interview was not received well by the readership, and many in Arab social media accused Al-Quds of normalizing and thus legitimizing Liberman’s views.
One of Liberman’s ideas that most upset Arabs on either side of the green line was his suggestion that a future peace deal will see a swapping of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria for Israeli Arab towns in the Arab triangle in central Israel. MK Ayman Odeh, Chairman of the Joint Arab List, told Israeli Radio Tuesday that Liberman’s suggestion is unacceptable, since the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria are illegal. He did not mention that, despite his well expressed Palestinian patriotism, he and his voters have no intention of substituting life in a third world Palestinian State for their lives in democratic Israel.
The Palestinian Authority for its part applied pressure on Al Quds not to run the Liberman interview, according to Arab media sources, accusing the paper of becoming a propaganda lap dog for the enemy. Abu Hadir rejected the insults, saying he submitted fifteen tough questions to Liberman and did his job well, as he has been doing for 30 years, during which he interviewed many Israeli leaders, including Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres.
Hamas rejected Liberman’s offer to help construct a Gaza harbor and airport depending on the organization’s putting an end to tunnel building, weapons smuggling and rocket shooting. Hazem Kassem, a spokesman for Hamas in Gaza, said the Palestinian people are entitled to having a harbor and an airport without being blackmailed. “A people under occupation have the right to possess means of power, including military ones, so as to be able to defend themselves against continuous Israeli assaults,” Qasim said, adding that this right was “not debatable.”
In other words, let the final war begin…JNi.Media
Yisrael Katz (Likud), who currently wears two ministerial hats: Transportation and Road Safety and Intelligence and Atomic Energy, has probably the most productive minister in Benjamin Netanyahu’s three consecutive cabinets, being responsible for an unprecedented network of new, modern highways crisscrossing Israel and an ever-improving train service — all of which means that if he has made up his mind to carry out a project, it’s probably going to happen, and sooner than you may think. The project in question is the Gaza harbor island, which Katz has recently begun to promote.
Speaking at the 2016 Herzliya Conference last week, Minister Katz described his plan for an island with a port off the Gaza Strip, connected to the mainland with a three-mile bridge, with no residential buildings, and, most important—no place for Hamas to dig terror tunnels. According to Katz, an artificial island to be built on the high seas would also be a spot which was “not promised by God to anyone,” with no ideological ties to any of the warring parties in the region. This island would be built strictly for humane and financial purposes: permit the monitored, daily flow of traffic in and out of Gaza, provide construction jobs for the people of Gaza, and, eventually, who knows, there’s room for many imaginative ventures once you’ve gotten yourself an island.
“We can practically change the current reality,” Katz promised last week. And on Monday he told reporters: “I do not think it is right to lock up two million people without any connection to the world. Israel has no interest in making life harder for the population there. But because of security concerns we can’t build an airport or seaport in Gaza [proper].”
This week, Minister Katz raised the heat under his proposal, announcing that Israel is actively seeking foreign investors to construct a $5 billion artificial island with a seaport, hotels and an airport just off the coast of the Gaza Strip. The island, comprising an area of three square miles (although once you start making islands in the sea, what’s to stop you from making them even bigger), would “ease the blockade it imposed on the Palestinian enclave a decade ago.”
Up until last week’s announcement, there were several alternative harbor proposals being discussed by the Israeli leadership, to help ease the pressure on Gaza’s civilian population without harming Israeli security. One was what seemed like an exotic idea a few months ago, of building an artificial island that would face the Gaza shore, where ships would unload their goods under strict Israeli control. One called for the harbor to be built in El Arish, a sleepy Egyptian town in the north-eastern Sinai, which is under Egyptian rule. There was also an idea to build a Gaza harbor in Cyprus. And, of course, there was the more intuitive idea of building the Gaza harbor in Gaza, but conditioning its operation on long-term ceasefire deals. Naturally, as soon as Hamas starts shooting rockets at Israel, Israel could wipe out their nice harbor.
Katz insists his man-made island proposal is under review by Netanyahu’s security cabinet, and showing “a lot of potential.” The experts are drafting plans on ways to maintaining security on the offshore island and inside the off-shore harbor. One tactic being proposed is closing down the bridge when hostilities flare up on the mainland. But with Hamas investing in training its Navy SEAL commandos, closing down the bridge may not necessarily secure the island.
Minister Katz wants the island to be built with foreign investments, and he would like to see the Saudis and the Chinese, as well as private Israeli investors picking up the tab for his project. Katz said Israel would allow foreign construction workers into its territorial waters for the project.
According to the Washington Post, citing a high level Israeli official, Prime Minister Netanyahu is “exploring the option but has not yet made a determination.”
The Palestinian Authority folks hate the plan, which they called “dubious.” The PLO fears that the man-made island would bring about “the final severing of Gaza” from the PA.JNi.Media
A fortuitous discovery before the Passover holiday by two divers in the ancient port of Caesarea has led to the revelation of a large, spectacular and beautiful ancient marine cargo of a merchant ship that sank there during the Late Roman period, about 1,600 years ago.
As soon as they emerged from the water, divers Ran Feinstein and Ofer Ra‘anan of Ra‘anana contacted the Israel Antiquities Authority and reported the discovery and the removal of several ancient items from the sea.
A joint dive at the site together with IAA archaeologists revealed that an extensive portion of the seabed had been cleared of sand and the remains of a ship were left uncovered on the sea bottom: iron anchors, remains of wooden anchors and items that were used in the construction and running of the sailing vessel. An underwater salvage survey conducted in recent weeks with the assistance of many divers from the Israel Antiquities Authority and volunteers using advanced equipment discovered numerous items that had been part of the ship’s cargo.
Many of the artifacts are made of bronze and are in an extraordinary state of preservation: a bronze lamp depicting the image of the sun-god Sol, a figurine of the moon goddess Luna, a lamp in the image of the head of an African slave, fragments of three life-size bronze-cast statues, objects fashioned in the shape of animals: a whale, and a bronze faucet in the shape of a wild boar with a swan on its head. Fragments of large jars were found that were used for carrying drinking water for the crew on the ship. One of the biggest surprises was the discovery of two metallic lumps composed of thousands of coins weighing about 45 lbs., Shaped like the pottery vessel in which they had been stored.
This discovery comes a year after the exposure by divers and the IAA of a treasure of gold Fatimid coins, which is currently on public display at the “Time Travel” presentations in Caesarea harbor.
According to Jacob Sharvit, director of the Marine Archaeology Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Dror Planer, deputy director of the unit, “These are extremely exciting finds, which, apart from their extraordinary beauty, are of historical significance. The location and distribution of the ancient finds on the seabed indicate that a large merchant ship was carrying a cargo of metal slated for recycling, and apparently encountered a storm at the entrance to the harbor and drifted until it smashed into the seawall and the rocks.”
A preliminary study of the iron anchors suggests there was an attempt to stop the drifting vessel before it reached shore by casting anchors into the sea; however, these broke – evidence of the power of the waves and the wind which the ship was caught up in.
Sharvit and Planer stress that “a marine assemblage such as this has not been found in Israel in the past thirty years. Metal statues are rare archaeological finds because they were always melted down and recycled in antiquity. When we find bronze artifacts it usually happens at sea. Because these statues were wrecked together with the ship, they sank in the water and were thus ‘saved’ from the recycling process.” Sharvit and Planer added that, “in the many marine excavations that have been carried out in Caesarea only a very small number of bronze statues have been found, whereas in the current cargo a wealth of spectacular statues were found that had been in the city and were removed from it by way of the sea. The sand protected the statues; consequently they are in an amazing state of preservation – as though they were cast yesterday rather than 1,600 years ago.”
The coins that were discovered bear the image of the emperor Constantine who ruled the Western Roman Empire (312–324 CE) and was later known as Constantine the Great, ruler of the Roman Empire (324–337 CE); and of Licinius, an emperor who ruled the eastern part of the Roman Empire and was a rival of Constantine, until his downfall in the 324 CE Battle of Adrianople that was waged between the two rulers. Following the battle at Adrianople, Constantine moved to besiege Byzantium.
According to Sharvit, “In recent years we have witnessed many random discoveries in the harbor at Caesarea. These finds are the result of two major factors: the absence of sand on the seabed causing the exposure of ancient artifacts, and an increase in the number of divers at the site. In this particular instance, the divers demonstrated good citizenship and are deserving of praise. They will be awarded a certificate of appreciation and invited to tour the storerooms of the National Treasures. By reporting the discovery of the marine assemblage to the IAA they have made it possible for all of us to enjoy these spectacular remains from antiquity.”
The Rothschild Caesarea Foundation is a major supporter of the conservation and development of the secrets of ancient Caesarea throughout the ages. The Israel Antiquities Authority, the Nature and Parks Authority and the Caesarea Development Corporation continue working intensively on major projects around the harbor. Michael Kersenti, director-general of the Caesarea Development Corporation, notes that the recent discoveries “reiterate the uniqueness of Caesarea as an ancient port city with a history and cultural heritage that continues to surprise us, as parts of the mysteries of its past are revealed in the sea and on land. These and the cultural treasures which will be discovered in the future will be made available for viewing by the numerous visitors who come to Caesarea each year.”JNi.Media
An archeological team headed by Dr. Alexander Fantalkin of Tel Aviv university has announced the discovery of one of the largest construction projects in the entire Mediterranean basin: a system of fortifications from the 8th century BCE, as well as coins, weights and parts of buildings from the Hellenistic period, have all been found in the archeological dig Tel Ashdod Yam – where the harbor of the philistine city of Ashdod used to be. The site is about 3 miles south of today’s thriving Israeli city of Ashdod.
This has been the first deep and well organized dig at the site, following the only previous dig there, carried out by the late archeologist Dr. Ya’akov Caplan in 1965-68.
The more recent dig has brought to light the remains of an 8th century BCE fortification system – a mud brick wall comprised of internal and external dykes circling a wharf. The dig has also unearthed ruins of buildings from the Hellenistic period (late 4th to early 2nd centuries BCE), as well as coins and weights.
“We knew there was an important archeological site there that hasn’t been dug until now,” Dr. Fantalkin told Walla. “We concluded the pioneer year of this project, and it’s being planned for many years to come. This is the ancient harbor of the Philistine city of Ashdod, We found there a very impressive fortification system comprised of 18 ft. tall mud brick walls. This brick wall is the core of a system of dykes that are combined into a huge, horseshoe shaped fortification, protecting a man-made pier.”
Dr. Fantalkin said his team was surprised by the degree of preservation of these structures, from some 2,750 years ago. They’re only now beginning to come to terms with the magnitude of what they’ve discovered.
An Assyrian governor ruled the southern Mediterranean basin in a time that was mired in power struggles and wars. Assyrian texts do describe a Philistine rebellion against Assyrian rule at the end of that period. Dr. Fantalkin believes the fortifications he discovered are related, one way or another, to the events on record.
“The Assyrians ruled firmly here from the middle of the 8th Century BCE,” he said. “It’s not clear if the fortifications were built by the Assyrians themselves or by the local who were commanded by the Assyrians.”
“Following the Philistine rebellion, the Assyrians sent down an army in 712 BCE, and the rebelling king fled to Egypt,” he continued. “The Assyrians demanded the Egyption extradite him, which they did. The entire affair is mentioned both in the Bible and in Assyrian sources. (For Gaza will be abandoned And Ashkelon a desolation; Ashdod will be driven out at noon And Ekron will be uprooted. Zephaniah 2:4) The rebellion was put down forcefully by the Assyrians and the city of Ashdod was destroyed.”Yori Yanover