Vision for Gaza 2035 with cities built "from scratch" revealed online

A document published online reportedly shows Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to redevelop Gaza into a regional hub with connections to Neom in Saudi Arabia.

Netanyahu revealed his Gaza 2035 vision earlier this month, according to reports in the Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post and broadcaster Al Jazeera.

The plans were outlined in a widely published document titled From Crisis to Prosperity – Plan for the Transformation of Gaza Strip. The document is not believed to represent official Israeli policy but was reportedly released by the Prime Minister’s Office. Dezeen has contacted the office for comment.

Plan to build “modern” cities

The document gives an overview of plans to turn Gaza into a regional trading hub following the Israel-Hamas war.

“Gaza prospered in the past as a crossroads between two ancient trade routes: the sea route and the perfume route,” a Google-translated version of the document reads. “It can return and thrive in the centre of moderate regional architecture.”

The plans outline a four-step plan that begins with dismantling Hamas, followed by a period of humanitarian aid, rebuilding and finally self-governance.

In the rebuild phase, the plan mentions the removal of rubble followed by the building of “modern” cities “from scratch”. Renders contained in the document show a futuristic city with numerous glazed skyscrapers surrounded by luscious greenery and farmland.

The images are in stark contrast to the current situation in Gaza, where the majority of homes have been damaged or destroyed.

In the Gaza Strip Interim Damage Assessment report published earlier this year, the United Nations estimated that by the end of January 2024 62 per cent of all homes had been damaged or destroyed along with 84 per cent of health facilities and 56 schools.

Connect to Neom project in Saudi Arabia

The From Crisis to Prosperity document also outlines plans to “pivot south” with a focus towards Saudi Arabia and a train line connecting Gaza to Be’er Shiva in Israel and the controversial Neom project in Saudi Arabia.

Renders show the coastal development divided by a large train line running north to south alongside a river.

“Gaza can become a significant industrial production centre for the shores of the Mediterranean with excellent access to markets in Europe, the Gulf and Asia, energy and raw materials from the Gulf while leveraging Israeli technology,” said the document.

Within these plans, the document suggests that an “electric vehicle manufacturing city” could be established in northern Gaza.

The majority of buildings in Gaza have been damaged or destroyed by Israeli assaults over the past seven months following a major assault by Hamas militants on Israel on 7 October 2023.

Much of the population in Gaza has been forced to flee their homes with around 1.7 million Palestinians taking refuge in emergency shelters or informal sites. More than 35,000 people have been killed since the beginning of the conflict.

Comments have been turned off on this story due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter.

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