Documents obtained by the Egyptian “Rose al-Yusef” newspaper have revealed that throughout 2011 Israel sought international agreement for a plan which would establish an alternative to the Suez Canal. Documents marked “Top Secret” from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office revealed that ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was aware of and in agreement with the project, despite it being intended to divert 50% of the canal’s income into the Israeli treasury. It is also intended to be financed completely by US and European aid to the tune of $5 billion, equivalent to 8.6 billion New Israeli Shekels.
The documents included Israeli government Resolution No. 1421, issued on 24 February 2010, which revealed that on 18th July 2011 the project would be designated official; that it would be brought into effect from 9th January 2012; and that it would be completed within 5 years. The project aims to end the role of the Suez Canal as the sole means of getting goods from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean and vice versa by establishing a giant trading wharf in the southern Israeli port of Eilat on the Red Sea. Israel, claims the documents, will be able to transfer goods much faster and at much cheaper rates than the Canal can at the moment. Goods arriving at Israeli ports on the Mediterranean would be transferred onto high-speed trains for the journey to Eilat; the time for the journey is estimated to be just one-and-a-quarter hours.
According to the leaked documents, Israel briefed Hosni Mubarak about the project on 22nd August 2005 from when it began to garner international support for the project. Even Jordan is set to benefit as the capacity of the port of Aqaba will be developed, bringing much-needed revenue to the country.
The legal advisors for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry for Transport and Communications signed their approval for work to commence on 26th January 2012.