Israel will lay a 254-kilometer fiber-optic cable between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, the Finance Ministry said on Sunday, creating a continuous link between Europe, the Gulf States and Asia.
The Israeli Finance Ministry added in a statement that the state-owned Europe Asia Pipelines Company would lay the cable along the oil pipeline it operates through Israel between the port of Ashkelon on the Mediterranean and Eilat on the Red Sea.
The company’s chief executive, Itzik Levy, said the project will turn Israel into a land bridge for communications linking the Gulf countries and Asia to Europe.
The cable will be connected to the submarine cables that reach the shores of Israel.
The company said any licensed telecommunications company in Israel would be able to use the cable under a 25-year lease.
The Europe Asia Pipeline Company offers the pipeline as an alternative to the Suez Canal.
Environmental groups have repeatedly warned of the dangers of the pipelines and cast doubts about the company’s safety record.
An oil spill from a pipeline in 2014 flooded a desert nature reserve with 5 million liters of oil.
The Israeli Finance Ministry said that laying fiber optic cables along the pipeline will help monitor any changes in the topography and detect any potential leakage.