Alternate Suez Canal (The Israeli Ben Gurion Canal) – OpEd


Heard of the Alternate Suez Canal? Here is the West’s dream project the proposed ‘Ben Gurion Canal’ or the Israeli Canal project. It is no new revelation; In July 1963, the US Department of Energy and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory created a classified document that outlined a plan to use 520 buried nuclear explosions to help in the excavation process through the hills in the Negev Desert. The document was declassified in 1993. 

The project would connect the Gulf of Aqaba to the Mediterranean Sea. David Ben Gurian after whom it would be named, is considered the Founding Father of Israel and was the first Prime Minister Israel. The canal would rival the Suez Canal that runs through Egypt, which has had many disturbances in its history, such as the closure of the Suez Canal (1956-1957 and from 1967-1975) and the blockage due to a large sized ship capsizing in 2021. It would be almost one third longer than the Suez Canal (194 km) meaning almost 300 km. The cost of creating the Israeli canal is estimated to be between $16 – $55 billion.

The capsizing of the cargo ship in the Suez Canal for more than six days and failing to float the ship was not the news, or the reasons behind the accident. But the real news behind it was the need to revive the “Ben-Gurion Canal” project. It is clear now who is the main beneficiary of this calamity, which hit one of the most important global navigation points, namely the Suez Canal. The Suez Canal is an essential maritime chokepoint, and the longer passage is suspended, the more impact it will have on civilian and military transits.

The proposed canal starts from the Southern end at the Gulf of Aqaba, by the port city of Eilat in Israel on the Israeli and Jordanian border, through the Arabah Valley for about 100 km between the Negev Mountains and the Jordanian highlands and veers West before the Dead Sea basin which is 1,412 ft below sea level and heads through a valley in the Negev Mountain Range then heads North again to get around the Gaza Strip and link up with the Mediterranean Sea.

Maritime Trade Dominance

The Israeli Ben Gurion Canal would represent more than just an artificial infrastructural marvel but would be a major shift in global maritime trade dynamics. Significantly broader than the Suez Canal, its design intends to usher in a new age of maritime efficiency, accommodating an increased volume of ships because it would be built on hardier terrain than the sand in the Suez, the canal will permit a two-way traffic, allowing vessels to transit in both directions concurrently. This project isn’t just a logistical enhancement; it is to be a profound assertion of Israel’s intention to become the fulcrum of global maritime commerce.

Speculations have swirled regarding Israel’s motives behind the West’s and Israel’s deeper narrative potential. It would directly be contesting the Suez Canal’s longstanding dominance; the stage is set for Western powers to wrestle financial and geopolitical control from Egypt. The Suez Canal set a new record with annual revenue of $9.4 billion in for the fiscal that ended June 30, 2023. This shift isn’t merely about diversifying revenue streams; it’s an overt strategy to re-orient the balance of power as well. 

A canal closer to the Egyptian border would offer unparalleled military advantages of a defensive canal obstacle, fortifying Israel’s defenses and providing a buffer against potential threats from the south. Such a strategic edge in a volatile region could reshape the balance of power.

Urgency Of The Israeli Ben Gurion Canal

  • The project is driven by the need to restrain the rise of the economic power of China, and to hold back its ongoing project “One Road, One Belt”. The Chinese project aims to build a train line that starts from the provinces of China in the west towards West Asia and secure water routes around the world.
  • The US is trying to hamper the Chinese trade route by creating an alternative route to compete with. So, the new stage of struggle will witness an economic war aiming to control seaports and global trade routes.

Challenges to the Construction

  • Opposition from the Arab nations led by Egypt as its revenue from the Suez Canal is estimated to be 8 billion dollars. Once Ben-Gurion is activated it will drop into 4 billion dollars.
  • The construction of the Ben-Gurion Canal may take several years involving about and 300,000 engineers and technicians who will be recruited from around the world
  • The projected canal will traverse through a varied configuration of terrains like desert, mountainous and the dead sea basin which is below sea level.
  • Underground nuclear explosions are likely to receive opposition.
  • Egypt may decide to widen the Suez Canal at a third of the cost proposed by Israel.

Haifa Port

Traditionally trade between India and Europe have relied heavily on the Suez Canal. After the acquisition of the Haifa Port, Israel’s second largest port, by a consortium led by India’s Adani Group, it is being transformed into a world-class facility that can be an alternative route, besides challenging China’s growing footprint in the region. Ron Malka, Israel’s former envoy to India, the executive chairman of the Haifa Port Company says the goal is to develop the Haifa Port as a true gateway connecting the East to West. 

The Ben Gurion Canal will give Israel in particular and other friendly nations the freedom from blackmail arising out of access to the Suez Canal. Arab states have been leveraging the Red Sea to pressure Israel and in response, Israel has decided to gain more control of the Red Sea. These African countries have cultural and economic affinities with the Arab states. One of the main military benefits for Israel is that it gives Israel the strategic options as the Ben Gurion Canal will totally take away the importance of Suez for the US military if needed in the aid for Israel.

Israel aims to push Egypt further into a corner by eliminating Suez in the global trade and energy corridor and becoming a global trade and energy logistics center.Experts are of the opinion that this situation will shake the strategic-energy balance of China’s Belt and Road Project initiative in the Mediterranean, along with the Strait of Hormuz, which is the transfer point of 30 percent of the world’s energy. The Ben Gurion Canal would have the solid backing of the West.

Patial RC

Patial RC is a retired Infantry officer of the Indian Army and possesses unique experience of serving in active CI Ops across the country and in Sri Lanka. Patial RC is a regular writer on military and travel matters in military professional journals. The veteran is a keen mountaineer and a trekker.

7 thoughts on “Alternate Suez Canal (The Israeli Ben Gurion Canal) – OpEd

  • November 8, 2023 at 8:42 am

    Very detailed strategic and economic analysis indeed of the alternative to Suez canal. There is no denying that in the new evolving global order the Ben Gurion Canal has been a necessity. Infact, with the pace the world order is changing it should have come into existence a decade ago.
    Given the terrain it is going to come up on, it shall be less costly on maintenance. The Well thought out width would make it a better trade route choice despite it being longer than the Suez. Given Israel’s National character and policies, the revenue earned through the Ben Gurion Canal would be better utilised than the revenue from Suez which might be misused at the whims and fancies of religious hardliners to further there global mission. It would do the Global Peace a service in general to taper the revenue from Suez.

  • November 8, 2023 at 3:34 pm

    Is it true that the reason that Isrehell had demolished Gaza is because the want to run the Canal through Gaza. Please also publish a map of how the Canal will look like if it goes through Gaza

    • November 8, 2023 at 7:06 pm

      It’s on the map published with the article

    • November 9, 2023 at 8:45 am

      No, it goes to Haifa. Gaza has offshore gas – that is of interest to Israel.

  • November 12, 2023 at 11:41 pm

    There will never be an alternative to Suez Canal. When taking the original key data for its course, i.e. starting in Eilat, heading north 5° for 83 miles, then 295° for 20 miles and finally 348° for another 58 miles, you can draw the lines for yourself. Use the bird’s view flying modus, and you’ll understand what I’m talking about. It’s not only that the canal is 300 km longer than the Suez canal, and its entry point on the israeli side would add even more miles to the journey for it’s farther in the east. Another factor is the speed limitation in the canal itsself. In summary: Chosing the israel canal would mean for each vessel to lose about 10-15 hours of time. So why would someone do that? There are some platforms like and/or providing useful infos. However, the only way to stop China is to refrain from buying cheap products made in China. Wasting bandwith by revitalisizing stupid ideas driven by braindead western neocons, is not really an option. Last but not least: What targets do you think would Iran or Yemen select for it’s missiles, once the canal is completed? The recent Hamas attacks either prove the highlypraised Israely spysoftware for state trojans just to be a piece of scrap or it was/is a false flag operation of the israely government, in an attempt to ensure its prime minister to maintain power. Wake-up folks. We are heading into WW3 with or without this canal…

  • November 13, 2023 at 2:15 am

    Martin Meyer thanx for adding some value inputs into the future of the “Alternate Suez Canal -The Israeli Ben Gurion Canal .Will we see in our life time or will it remain a board design because of fast changinging geopolitics equations. Rightlly said to counter China economically is to stop buying cheap products made in China on which we the developing nations are so dependent to save money for short term gains….


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