Egyptian businessman Hussein Salem and Israeli partner Yossi Meiman are to build a 1,200MW power station in El Arish in Egypt at a cost of US$1bn, to supply electricity to Israel and the Palestinian Territory.

This is the third joint project and will provide electric power equivalent to 10% of the present production capacity of the Israel Electric Corporation which is unable to meet the power demands of its customers.

Some electricity will be used to build a desalination plant that would pump water to the Gaza Strip, which has a severe shortage of drinking water.

The first joint venture was the construction of the US$1.5bn Midor oil refinery in Alexandria, Egypt. Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s attempt to push forward a deal with the Palestinians in 1999 contributed to a joint initiative to provide Egyptian gas to the Israel Electric Corporation for US$2.5bn. That deal was closed in a formal ceremony recently.

The European Investment Bank is likely to provide funds for the current project.