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Analysis

Artificial Respiration to Tel Aviv: Decoding Dubai-Haifa Circumventive Land Corridor

Tuesday 19 December 2023
Artificial Respiration to Tel Aviv: Decoding Dubai-Haifa Circumventive Land Corridor

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Gaza War Heavily Overshadowing Planned Indian-Israeli Economic Corridor

Alwaght- Since the beginning of Yemen’s Ansarullah attacks on the ships headed to the Israeli regime in Bab-el-Mandeb and the Red Sea, Tel Aviv has faced a big challenge to continuation of its military campaign in Gaza. 

For its exports and imports, Israel is dependent on the maritime trade. 

Following the attacks in recent weeks on commercial ships carrying goods to the Israeli regime, Maersk, the world’s second largest shipping company with a fleet of 300 ships, has announced that it has stopped shipments through Bab-el-Mandeb and Red Sea until further notice. After Maersk’s announcement, the German company Hapag-Lloyd announced the suspension of its operations in the Red Sea. 

On the other hand, Ansarullah also extended its attacks to Israeli ports, dealing serious blows to the major Israeli economic artery. Though Haifa and Ashdod in the north are Israel’s largest ports, port of Eilat on the Red Sea has the key role in this regime’s trade with the world and connects the occupied territories to the East Asian markets. The port came under attacks multiple times in recent weeks by Ansarullah in solidarity with Gaza. 

The role of this port was further broadened after the signing of the normalization agreement with the UAE and Bahrain three years ago. According the thaw deal, it was decided that UAE crude oil shipments will be transported to Ashdod port to be transported from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea through the Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline. 

But Ansarullah’s missile and drone attacks on Eilat not only have jeopardized the Israeli security, but also have managed to undermine Israeli economic ambitions including tourism that accounts for a considerable part of its GDP. 

This is a significant development that can impact the Israeli foreign trade and consumer prices in the occupied territories. Professor Elyakim Ben-Hakoun at School of Industrial Engineering and Management of Israel Institute of Technology suggests that about 99 percent of goods reach Israel by sea, and about 40 percent of cargoes entering Israel pass through the Suez Canal. According to the professor, the ships have to circumnavigate Africa if they want to avoid the Red Sea which depending on their speed, destination, and other factors can add one week to one months to their journey time. This imposes an additional cost of $400,000 to $1 million per ship. 

The President of Israel Chamber of Shipping Yuram Sebba has a similar estimation of costs per ship. If companies choose to travel through Africa, the added net cost is estimated to be around $1 million per journey, and all importer and exporter losses and economic impact are added to the cost of end consumers. An optimistic estimate in early November suggested that a year-long war, even if limited to the Gaza front, would cost Israel more than $50 billion, or 10 percent of national GDP. 

Although Israel produces part of its food domestically, it relies on imports for most of its grain needs, as well as some fish, beef, nuts, and other consumer products. 

In recent weeks, local media have reported that many local supermarkets face empty shelves and food shortages, as many consumers turn to stockpiling food due to concerns over prolonged war. 

According to a report by Tradingeconomics, the main Israeli import items include machines and tools (28 percent of imports) diamond (11 percent), oil and other fossil fuels (9 percent), and transportation facilities (7 percent). 

Israel imports the most of its goods from the US (12 percent of all imports), China (7 percent), Germany (6.2 percent) and Belgium (6 percent). 

Economic artificial respiration to Israel with Arab corridor 

While the Yemenis with their attacks on the Israeli interests are alone meeting the Arab public expectations from the Arab countries for helping the Palestinians and have managed to unnerve Tel Aviv militarily and economically, some reports talk about entry of Arab countries to the crisis but not in favor of Palestine but in favor of Israel to help ease the maritime pressures on the Israelis. On Monday, Israeli news website Walla revealed in a report that a land corridor as an alternative to the Red Sea has been launched and goods will be delivered to Israel to avoid ships circumnavigating Africa to reach Israeli ports. 

According to the report, this corridor starts from Dubai ports and reaches Israel after 2,000 kilometers through Saudi Arabia and Jordan. 

Reportedly, the cargoes are transported by trucks, and for this purpose, the Israeli regime has created an application called TruckNet and intends to encourage truckers and those in need of ground transportation services to use the ports of Dubai as an alternative to sea transportation through the Red Sea. 

Over the past weeks, 10 trucks as pioneers of the plan left the Persian Gulf ports to the occupied territories after loading, the website reported. 

This transportation takes place within the framework of the cooperation agreement that the Israelis signed with the UAE logistics service company Puretrans FZCO and DP WORLD in order to establish a cargo transportation line from the southern coasts of the Persian Gulf to the port of Haifa and vice versa, and the test transportation started last week. 

Israeli cabinet and especially defense ministry also showed green light to the route and declared it the fastest alternative to the Suez Canal.

The route from Dubai to occupied Palestine is 2,550 kilometers or 4 days, and from Bahrain this distance is 1,700 kilometers or 2 days and 7 hours. 

According to Walla news, this corridor costs $1.2 per kilometer which is a little more expensive than the sea transportation in the ordinary days, but it is currently cheaper. 

The disclosure of launching this land corridor, which is definitely considered as a stab in the back of the resistance of the Palestinian people and helping the Israelis to continue their crimes in Gaza, comes while previously some Israeli officials had claimed that some Arab rulers, contrary to their ostensible positions in support of Gaza, back Israel behind the scenes and call on the Israeli army to destroy Hamas. 

Meanwhile, the UAE, which is one of the Arab countries that has signed numerous economic agreements with the Israeli government and finds the developments running counter to its interests because of Hamas’s Operation Al-Aqsa Storm that marginalized the normalization process, is the most important actor helping the Israelis to circumvent the Red Sea. The Emirati assistance to Tel Aviv is also driven by a wish to avoid imbalance of power between southern and northern Yemen where the UAE has established an occupational presence.

Also, launching this land corridor can be an opener to the broader India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) that facilitates trade from India to Israeli ports and from there to Europe through Greece. 

Over the past year, Washington raised idea of this corridor both to create a rival to China’s Road and Belt Initiative in the Arab Middle East and to advance normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel. 

Under the provisional plan, this corridor will consist of two separate parts; the eastern corridor from India to the port of Dubai in the Persian Gulf and the northern corridor from Persian Gulf to Europe through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel railways. 

Using this route in the Arabian Peninsula means circumventing Egypt’s Suez Canal which is now the main gate for ships sailing to Israeli ports. So, now that Israel desperately needs to bypass Suez Canal, preparing the ground for IMEC can serve the Israeli agenda. 

Though Jordan’s television has denied the news of such corridor in reaction to Walla news report and claimed that such a route does not pass Jordan’s territory, the UAE and Saudi Arabia have not yet denied the report. 

 

Tags :

UAE Israel Red Sea Land Corridor US Yemen Gaza War

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