Speaking in Muscat, Oman, to delegates at the World Congress of the International Road Transport Union, Minister Katz said that the ‘Tracks of Peace’ rail link project is “based on two central ideas: Israel as a land bridge and Jordan as a regional transportation hub”.
He said: “It makes sense and is beyond political and ideological disagreements”, adding that forecasted growth in regional trade to $250 billion by 2030 would make it profitable within a decade.
The Minister told delegates that “it will create an additional trade route in the region, which is shorter, faster and cheaper, and will contribute to the economies of Jordan, the Palestinians — who will also be connected to the initiative — Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, and in the future Iraq as well”.
In attendance were dozens of senior officials from around the world, including transport ministers and ministry director generals from Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, Qatar, Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Yemen, the Palestinian Authority, and Iran.
Israel currently has diplomatic ties with only two Arab states, Egypt and Jordan, however the announcement follows a historic visit by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the Gulf nation, in a dramatic sign of warming ties.