Palestinians to lose solely airport in Jerusalem to Israeli settlements

Mar 2, 2021

The Jerusalem Worldwide Airport, the oldest airport in Palestine, previously referred to as Qalandia Airport, lies on a street connecting the cities of Ramallah and Jerusalem, close to the city of Qalandia within the northern West Financial institution. It was in-built 1920 through the British mandate on a land of 650 dunams (160 acres) initially. Greater than 50 years later, this very airport has became an deserted web site devoid of any baggage, planes or flight attendants. The cracks contained in the concrete flooring of the airport are actually coated with dry and inexperienced grass.

Israel seized the airport after it occupied the West Financial institution and East Jerusalem in 1967, and it annexed it in 1981 primarily based on the so-called Jerusalem Legislation. Israeli airways used it for business and home flights to and from Jerusalem till they closed it in 2000. Its identify was modified to the Atarot Airport, of which solely the runway, the management tower and the arrival and departure corridor stay.

Khalil Tufakji, head of the map division at Jerusalem’s Arab Research Society, informed Al-Monitor, “The most important Israeli settlement challenge that has been underway for a number of years now in Jerusalem seeks to grab and confiscate 1,300 dunams [321 acres] of the Jerusalem Worldwide Airport and the lands surrounding it. It goals at implementing Israel’s Larger Jerusalem challenge to develop the prevailing Israeli settlements and expel Palestinians to extend the variety of Jews and settlers within the metropolis of Jerusalem.”

He stated, “Since 1994, the Israeli authorities have arrange the Larger Jerusalem challenge, which incorporates, in line with Israeli plans, the settlements of Ma’ale Adumim, Givat Ze’ev and Gush Etzion. They’ve additionally managed all roads main thereto so as to lower off Palestinian neighborhoods from the Jerusalem municipality, comparable to Shuafat, Kafr Aqab and Anata, amongst others.”

Tufakji famous, “The Israeli seizure of the Jerusalem Worldwide Airport primarily goals at killing the Palestinians’ dream of their capital — Jerusalem — on condition that the airport is positioned on lands belonging to the Palestinian capital. It additionally goals at tilting the demographic stability [in Jerusalem] towards the Israelis on the expense of the Palestinians. The Israeli management of the airport additionally goals at connecting the Israeli settlements that lie exterior the boundaries of the Jerusalem municipality to those inside it.”

He added, “East Jerusalem contains 14 Israeli settlements which might be residence to 220,000 Israeli settlers. These settlements account for ​​87% of the realm of Jerusalem, leaving solely 9,300 dunams [2,298 acres] for the Palestinians, estimated at solely 13% of the realm of ​​Jerusalem. Via the so-called Jerusalem 5800 challenge for the 12 months 2050, the [Israeli] occupation is trying to hyperlink the Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem with the settlements within the west by a community of railways and bridges and set up a global airport in Wadi Musa.”

Of word, the separation barrier within the West Financial institution is 712 kilometers (442 miles) lengthy, which is double the size of the so-called Inexperienced Line that extends over 320 kilometers (199 miles). In the meantime, within the neighborhood of Jerusalem, the barrier extends over about 202 kilometers (125 miles), in line with information from Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.

Ziad al-Hammouri, director of the Jerusalem Middle for Social and Financial Rights, informed Al-Monitor, “The Israeli authorities took management of the Jerusalem Worldwide Airport after occupying the West Financial institution in 1967, and so they subsequently used it to function home flights from and to Jerusalem, Eilat and Tel Aviv. Israel closed it utterly with the outbreak of the Palestinian rebellion in 2000.”

He stated, “The airport was the lung via which the Palestinians would catch a breath and journey to the Arab world. A number of planes took off from this airport to land in Lebanon, Jordan and a few Gulf nations. However with the Israeli management over it, it turned it into a brand new settlement outpost that serves Israeli objectives and plans geared toward controlling the West Financial institution as an entire, and never simply Jerusalem.”

Hammouri famous, “The brand new settlement challenge will witness the development of 15,000 to 25,000 settlement items on the land of the airport, and these can be linked to the settlements of Maskiyot and Atrout via a tunnel to be constructed beginning April. The tunnel dives deep under the Qalandia checkpoint, because it helps settlers keep away from visitors jams after they transfer both from Ramallah, the Jordan Valley or the northern West Financial institution areas to Israel with out the necessity to undergo the checkpoint.”

He added, “The Israeli authorities are working to encourage the immigration of Israelis to settlements close to Jerusalem by establishing many infrastructure tasks and large business facilities that may lure hundreds of Israelis into dwelling there. Consequently, the Zionist plans present that the Palestinian Authority’s wager on the Oslo Acoord was a failure, not to mention the suspending of negotiations on a number of core points, such because the Jerusalem subject, through the negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis.”

Nasser al-Hadmi, head of the Jerusalem Committee for Resisting Displacement, informed Al-Monitor that the settlement tasks the Israeli authorities are finishing up within the metropolis of Jerusalem particularly and the West Financial institution typically transcend the aim of garnering the help of a big section of the Israeli neighborhood for the intense proper, which has been ruling Israel for a number of years.

He stated that almost all of Israeli society has grow to be extremist and doesn’t consider within the precept of peace or in a two-state answer between the Israeli and Palestinian sides.

Hadmi famous, “In 2021 the Israeli occupation intensified its assaults on the town of Jerusalem, because it demolished homes it claimed have been unlawful and prevented Jerusalemites from acquiring constructing permits.”

He stated that the Israeli authorities grant solely 4% of the inhabitants in Jerusalem permits for development. Additionally, Israeli approvals normally require 5 to 10 years and value $50,000 to $100,000 for one housing unit.

“Over time, the Israeli authorities have issued a number of legal guidelines geared toward controlling and seizing the property of Jerusalemites, together with the Custodian of Absentee Property Legislation, which goals at facilitating the Israeli management over the property of Jerusalemites who left Jerusalem in 1967 and by no means returned. This [law] permits the Israel Land Administration to regulate and switch such properties to settlement associations that set up settlements and outposts thereon and hand them over to settlers,” Hadmi concluded.

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