Former Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, speaks at a summit in Rome, Nov. 16, 2009-
CAIRO - 5 July 2017: Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the former Emir of Qatar, is alleged to have offered the Israeli government $3 billion in 2002 to dig a canal connecting the Red Sea with the Dead Sea in Israel, Arab and Gulf sources revealed on Wednesday.
The sources told Egypt Today that the generous offer by the Emir of Qatar to establish the canal aimed to block navigation in Egypt’s Suez Canal and seize the opportunity of the strained relations between Cairo and Tel Aviv, following Egypt’s withdrawal of its ambassador to Israel, Mohammed Bassiouni, after the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000.
The sources noted that the idea of an Israeli navigational canal was first proposed by Israel at the Earth Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, on August 28, 2002, under the pretext of saving the Dead Sea. The water levels of the landlocked sea decrease one meter every year and it is expected to completely dry up by 2050.
Israel estimated an initial cost of $8 billion to build the canal, which Qatar offered to invest $3 billion into.