Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has proposed the construction of infrastructure projects that would connect countries in Asia and the Arabian Peninsula with Europe through Israel and Cyprus. This idea comes as a result of the normalization of relations between Israel and other countries in the region, such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and potentially Saudi Arabia.
One of the proposed projects is the establishment of a fiber optic cable network that would serve as a corridor linking Asia to Europe. Netanyahu believes that this infrastructure would be the shortest, safest, and most economical route for connectivity between the two continents. He expressed confidence in the feasibility of this project during a meeting with Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides.
This proposal builds upon existing plans for energy collaboration between Israel, Cyprus, and Greece. Significant natural gas deposits have been discovered in the economic zones of both Israel and Cyprus, leading to increased cooperation in the energy sector. Netanyahu reiterated his commitment to the construction of a 2,000-megawatt undersea electricity cable called the EurAsia Interconnector, which would connect Israel with Cyprus and Greece. This cable aims to provide an energy supply backup for both countries.
In addition to the electricity cable, there is also a proposal to build a pipeline that would transport offshore natural gas from Israel and Cyprus to Cyprus itself. This gas could be used for electricity generation or potentially liquefied for export. The goal is to create a reliable energy corridor from the East Mediterranean basin to Europe, which would help diversify Europe’s energy sources in light of Russia’s conflict in Ukraine.
Netanyahu also expressed support for a European decision to establish a regional firefighting hub in Cyprus. This hub would dispatch aircraft and other technology to assist in extinguishing fires in neighboring countries. With the increasing threat of climate change and rising temperatures in the region, firefighting capabilities have become crucial. Israel sees this collaboration as an opportunity to enhance their firefighting efforts.
The meeting between Christodoulides and Netanyahu precedes a trilateral meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. These trilateral meetings have become regular occurrences since 2016, reflecting the deepening friendship and cooperation between Israel, Cyprus, and Greece. The leaders of these countries believe that their collaboration is long overdue and holds great potential for mutual benefits.
Overall, the proposed infrastructure projects, including the fiber optic cable, electricity cable, and gas pipeline, aim to strengthen connectivity and energy cooperation between Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. These initiatives would not only enhance economic ties but also contribute to energy diversification and security in the region. With the support of other countries in the region, such as Saudi Arabia, these projects could become a reality, further solidifying Israel’s position as a key player in the global energy market.