Israeli authorities have announced that they intend on building a railway network linking Israel with Saudi Arabia to transfer goods and people.
The plan was first proposed last week by Israel’s transport minister, Yisrael Katz, who had initially presented the idea to U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy last month.
Under the proposal, goods could travel by rail from Israel’s Mediterranean port of Haifa through Jordan to Saudi Arabia’s Gulf port of Dammam via Jordan.
According to Yedioth Ahronoth, the 15 million shekels (£10.5 million) cost of the plans for this project was included in the 2019 budget, which was approved three days earlier.
Currently, Yedioth Ahronoth said, Israel is transporting goods arriving in Haifa Port and heading to Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States through Jordan, noting that the war in Syria led these countries to use Israeli ports instead of those in Syria.
The paper reported that the Israeli Transportation Minister called this railway the “Peace Line”, adding that Israel would open a new commercial crossing to deal with goods exported by the Gulf States and Iraq through Israeli ports.
According to Israeli media, the Israeli Railway Commission has already formed a team of experts to lay down plans for this project, which, it said, would improve Israel’s international status as the railway will connect Europe with the Middle East.
Israel has set its sights on normalising relations with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states which Israeli leaders say share their country’s concerns about Iran.
However, Israel maintains a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip and tightly regulates the overland passage of goods and people through its border with the territory.
This was originally published here on 5 Pillars.