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Israel establishes land route for trade through Arab states, bypassing Houthi Red Sea blockade

February 4, 2024 at 10:29 am

A ship transits the Suez Canal towards the Red Sea on January 10, 2024 in Ismailia, Egypt [Sayed Hassan/Getty Images]

Israel is using a land route for the import of goods through the Gulf and across the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, and Jordan to Israel, in an effort to bypass the shipping route through the Red Sea blockaded by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

Following the start of Israel’s ongoing bombardment and invasion of the Gaza Strip, Yemen’s Houthi rebels launched numerous attacks on ships allegedly on their way to Israel through the Red Sea, seizing them and significantly impacting global trade passing through those vital shipping lines.

That, along with naval and aerial attacks on the Houthis by the United States and Britain, have forced ships to use the alternate route passing southern Africa’s Cape of Good Hope and around the continent and through the Mediterranean, making the trips – and subsequently much of global trade – costlier and more time-consuming.

In an effort to circumvent those circumstances, Israel was reported back in December to have been planning a land route stretching from the east of the Arabian Peninsula to Israel, as an alternative route that could potentially cut the costs and length of time for the transport of goods.

Those reports were initially unconfirmed by Israel and Gulf Arab states, with some such as the Jordanian government denying the formation of such a land route.

In a broadcast by Israel’s Channel 13 this week, however, it revealed that ships have been heading to the Persian Gulf, from where they leave from the UAE’s Dubai, cross through Saudi Arabia and Jordan, and finally reach the Jordan Bridge in Israel.

The operations are reportedly being carried out between two companies – UAE-based Puretrans FZCO and Israel-based Trucknet – transporting goods via lorries and freight, the contents of which include food, plastics, chemicals, and electronic devices or components.

The process is reportedly a pilot test prior to the full utilisation of the route, but Channel 13’s broadcast confirms the reports of Israel’s plan in line with the seeming cooperation and permission of those Arab states, despite the occupation’s ongoing war on Gaza and the genocide of the Palestinians in the besieged territory.

It comes after Israel’s Minister of Transportation and Road Safety, Miri Regev, revealed last month that she was leading plans to develop the route, stating on X that “the overland transportation of the goods will shorten the time by 12 days and greatly reduce the existing waiting time due to the wire problem. We will do it and we will succeed.”

READ: Israel’s war on Gaza: The Red Sea crisis