Israel Seeks to Revive Long Abandoned Railway to Gulf

(Al-Monitor) David Awad - On Dec. 13, Israeli Minister of Intelligence and Transportation Yisrael Katz announced Israel's intention to revive the Hejaz railway linking the Israeli port of Haifa to the Gulf states. The Hejaz railway was built in 1908 to link Damascus to Medina through the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia. A branch was added to Haifa on the Mediterranean Sea but it was closed when World War I broke out. Katz said, "We will extend the track that connects Haifa and Beit Shean to the King Hussein Bridge; the Jordanians will extend it to connect to the Saudi railways." Katz said the project's designs and plans have been completed and are ready to execute within a year or two if approved by Jordan and the Gulf states. Mustafa Al-Rasheed, a professor of economics at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport in Alexandria, Egypt, noted that "The Israeli project is not a competitor to the Suez Canal." He explained that the expansion of the Suez Canal launched by President Sisi in 2014 deepened the main waterway to fit massive vessels and large oil tankers, and that no railway can compete with the new canal since trains can only carry the same cargo as small-sized ships. This "means that the railway and the Suez Canal have different targeted customers."

2018-01-10 00:00:00

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