Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

The Palestinian Authority asks its citizens not to travel from Israeli airports

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Thursday, August 25th 2022 à 10:30 | Read 272 times

Palestinians will be able to fly from Ramon airport in southern Israel (Israel Airports Authority)
Palestinians will be able to fly from Ramon airport in southern Israel (Israel Airports Authority)
ISRAEL. In a statement, the Palestinian Authority asked Palestinians not to travel from Ramon airport, which runs counter to its claim to have its own hub. "National duty obliges us not to travel through Ramon airport and we advise them not to go there," said Moussa Rahal, spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Transport.

"If the occupying forces want to ease the situation of the Palestinians, let them open the airport in Jerusalem," said Mohammad Shtayyeh. The Palestinian Prime Minister is referring to the former platform of Kalandia, located in the northern West Bank between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Inaugurated in 1920 by the British military who had a mandate over Palestine, then opened to regular flights in 1936, this international airport was managed from April 1949 to June 1967 by Jordan. After the Six-Day War, it was placed under Israeli control and was used to relieve the airport of Tel Aviv. Kalandia has been disused since 2001 and the second Intifada.

The Palestinian Authority reacted as Monday, August 22, 2022, for the first time, a group of about 40 Palestinian passengers from the West Bank was able to travel to Lanarca (Cyprus) from an Israeli airport (Eilat-Ramon) on a scheduled flight of Arkia Israeli Airlines.

An airport operational since 2019

The Israeli government decided earlier this month, under pressure from Washington, to lift some of the restrictions that prevent Palestinians from using Israeli airports, including Ben Gurion near Tel Aviv, without special permission. They must therefore travel to Amman airport in Jordan. The Israelis have decided to allow special flights from Elat-Ramon to a few destinations, including Turkey.

The measure was supposed to take effect on Monday, August 22, 2022, but was postponed the day before without explanation. The Israel Port Authority said that the flight on August 22, 2022 was not part of this program, but was a separate arrangement. Passengers were transported by bus from the checkpoint in Meitar (southern West Bank) directly to the airport.

Inaugurated in January 2019 in the Negev desert after six years of work (€395 million investment) to replace two existing platforms ('Hozman Eilat Airport and Ovda), Ramon airport is located about 20 kilometers from the tourist resort of Eilat on the Red Sea, in southern Israel. It has a capacity of two million passengers, expandable to 4.2 million by 2030.

Since 2013 and the start of construction, its opening has been fiercely criticized by the Jordanian Civil Aviation Regulatory Commission, which accused it of "violating international standards in terms of respecting the sovereignty of airspace and territory of other countries." Its spokesman, Haitham Misto, justified this accusation by the very short distance (less than 10 km) of this new infrastructure from the King Hussein International Airport (Aqaba). This would represent, "a threat to the airspace of the kingdom" according to him and could "affect the takeoffs and landings and security measures.

The airport is named after Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut, killed in the explosion of the Columbia shuttle in 2003 and his son, Assaf, a fighter pilot who died in 2009 aboard his F16 during a military training.

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