The U.S. and Israel have been planning the construction of brand-new trade routes, which are only possible through normalization agreements signed between Tel Aviv and the Arab World.
So, what is the Ben Gurion Canal, India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor, and why is this so important to Washington’s considerations when backing the current Israeli onslaught on Gaza? Could the reason the U.S. is supporting Israel’s war against Gaza, full force, be because of a trade route?
Lately, there has been some talk of what is known as the ‘Ben Gurion Canal’ Project, which would essentially be an alternative trade route created through Israel-Palestine, which would be inorganically carved out of the earth to replace Egypt’s Suez Canal, which of course is crucial to international shipping at this point, and would bring in significant revenue for the Israelis.
In fact, after Israel and the United Arab Emirates normalized ties in 2020, there was a lot of talk about bringing this project to the forefront of the economic cooperation between the United Arab Emirates and Israel. Then, in 2021, there was even more chatter about this as the United Arab Emirates and Israel wanted to reap the benefits of providing an alternative trade route to the Suez Canal.
Yet there were many issues at hand, including the environmental costs. And, of course, the fact that Saudi Arabia had not normalized ties with the Israelis and to make such a project work without any problems, mainly due to the waterways that ships would have to pass through to enter the canal, Saudi Arabia was going to have to normalize ties.
The Ben Gurion Canal project is not a new idea. According to leaked documents, in 1963, the U.S. proposed using some 520 nuclear bombs to make it a reality. The proposed trade route would run from the port city of Eilat and head north. The canal that would have to be dug would have been even longer than the Suez Canal. The U.S. and Israel didn’t go through with the project for several reasons.
However, something that was being actively discussed before the October 7 Hamas attack was the possibility of creating a land route that would run through Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories through the Port of Haifa into Europe. Called the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor, the route would have revolutionized trade and was a major item on the agenda of the G20 summit in September. The U.S. was determined to make the plan a reality to shape what Benjamin Netanyahu called at the United Nations General Assembly, recently the New Middle East, and was integral to the U.S. plan to combat China and its Belt and Road Initiative.
The trade route all went up in flames with the Hamas-led attack on October 7, undermining international confidence in Israeli security. To make their project work, the U.S. and Israel would have to crush Hamas and crush Gaza and any Palestinian resistance that ever again challenged the objectives of the United States in the Middle East.
Robert Inlakesh is a political analyst, journalist and documentary filmmaker currently based in London, UK. He has reported from and lived in the occupied Palestinian territories and hosts the show ‘Palestine Files’. Director of ‘Steal of the Century: Trump’s Palestine-Israel Catastrophe.’ Follow him on Twitter @falasteen47