Palestinian Authority urges Palestinians not to use Israeli airport

2 minute read

Planes are reflected in the facade of the Ramon International Airport after an inauguration ceremony for the new airport, just outside the southern Red Sea resort city of Eilat, Israel January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo

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GAZA, Aug 24 (Reuters) - The Palestinian Authority urged Palestinians not to take advantage of concessions promised by Israel that would allow them to travel through Ramon aiport in southern Israel, saying they should have their own airport.

Israel's Airports Authority this month said Palestinians from the occupied West Bank would be offered special flights from Ramon, near the Red Sea resort city of Eilat, to destinations in Turkey. read more

The move followed pressure from the United States to ease some of the strict travel restrictions which prevent Palestinians from using Israeli airports - including Ben Gurion, Israel's main international hub - without special permission.

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Palestinians travelling abroad frequently do so through neighbouring Jordan but there are often long delays at the border crossing.

"Should the occupation want to ease up for the Palestinians, let them open Jerusalem Airport," Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said, referring to the now-disused Qalandia airport in the northern part of the occupied West Bank.

The airport, seized by Israel after the 1967 war which brought the West Bank area under its control, closed in 2000.

Israel's offer to allow Palestinians to use Ramon for some flights has been heavily criticised by many Palestinian activists who say it does nothing to ease the severe travel restrictions.

Asked about a charter flight carrying Palestinian passengers to Cyprus through Ramon this week, Moussa Rahal, a spokesman for th Palestinian ministry of transport said: "National duty compels us not to travel through Ramon airport, and we advise them not to go there."

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Writing by Nidal Almughrabi; Editing by Nick Macfie

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Thomson Reuters

A senior correspondent with nearly 25 years’ experience covering the Palestinian-Israeli conflict including several wars and the signing of the first historic peace accord between the two sides.