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Israel, PA Agree On Gaza-West Bank Passage

(July 5, 2005)

Israel and the Palestinian Authority reached an agreement on the creation of an overland connection between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank following the disengagement. Under the agreement, Israeli security forces will escort convoys of Palestinian vehicles traveling between the two areas. In the future, Israel has proposed linking the two territories by railroad. The railroad would link the Erez industrial zone in the Gaza Strip to the Tarqumiyeh checkpoint near Hebron.

The World Bank estimates that this would cost $175 million and take three years to build. It, therefore, proposed that instead, a four-lane sunken highway be built in a five-meter-deep trench that would slice Israel in two. The trench would be surrounded by double fences to keep people from leaving it for Israeli territory, and Israeli traffic would cross it via overpasses. The bank believes that this would cost only $130 million to build and would also be cheaper to operate.

Source: Aluf Benn, Israel and PA Agree on a 'Safe Passage' Between Gaza and West Bank, Haaretz, (July 5, 2005).