Palestinians in the West Bank will be able to fly abroad through Israel’s Ramon Airport starting later this month, Israel’s Airports Authority announced Tuesday.
Under the initiative, flights will be offered twice a week to the Turkish resort city of Antalya beginning at the end of August, and to Istanbul in September. They will be run by the carriers Atlas and Pegasus on Airbus A321 planes.
Ramon Airport is located near the Red Sea port and tourist hub of Eilat.
Reports of the plan emerged in mid-July, as Israel greenlit a series of goodwill gestures to Palestinians ahead of President Joe Biden’s visit to the country, including an increase of Gazan workers allowed to enter Israel and the approval of Palestinian construction plans in the West Bank.
The proposal to open Ramon Airport to Palestinian passengers — and establish a “safe passage” to ferry them from the West Bank — was also considered at the time, Israel’s Kan news reported. In exchange, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz requested concessions from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, mainly to withhold from advancing proceedings against Israel in the International Criminal Court.
The scheme will open a new mode of travel for Palestinians in the West Bank, who otherwise largely have to cross to Jordan to fly internationally.
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