[creeping annexation] Israeli minister promotes Israel-Palestine airport in West Bank

Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Issawi Frej (Emmanuel Dunand - AFP)

Middle East Monitor  /  December 2, 2021

[Palestinian] Israeli Minister of Regional Cooperation, Issawi Frej, is promoting the construction of Israeli-Palestinian airport in land located near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, Israeli media revealed yesterday.

According to Ynet News, the airport would become the first-ever airfield under joint Israeli-Palestinian ownership.

The area, where the minister thinks the airport could be built, is the location of the old Qalandia Airport, which was built during the British Mandate of Palestine and remained operative until the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Last week, the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem advanced a plan to build a new settlement in the area, which Israel refers to as Atarot.

“As Israel’s aviation needs increase, with Ben Gurion Airport very close to its capacity limitations, and as the decision on the location of Israel’s next airport continues to linger, the existing resource of ready airfields in Atarot must be utilized and reopened as a joint Israeli-Palestinian airport,” Ynet News reported Frej saying.

He added: “The reconstruction of the airfield and its opening will both address the aviation needs of the Jerusalem metropolitan area and also address the need of the residents of the Palestinian Authority for an air entry and exit gate.”

According to the minister’s plan, Ynet News said, the airport will be rebuilt and a Palestinian terminal will be built next to it.

The Israeli news website reported the airport would allow residents of the Palestinian Authority to fly directly from Jerusalem to various destinations around the world.

Frej believes that the airport could serve as many as five million passengers annually and will be a boon for the Israeli economy as a whole and Jerusalem’s economy in particular.