The Israeli Occupying Forces close Gaza International Airport


Date: May 3rd 2000

Ref: 53/2000

On 3rd May 2000, Gaza International Airport was closed for all air traffic into and out of Gaza. The closure took place after an Air Maroc plane attempted to fly on a flight route called El Nadl after authorisation from the Egyptian Air Traffic Control Service to do so. The Israeli Military Airport located in the Negev desert rejected his clearance. Accordingly, the Air Maroc plane was forced to return back to Cairo airport.

It is worth mentioning that when Gaza International Airport was inaugurated on 22 November 1998, an agreement was concluded between the Egyptian Government, the Israeli Government and the Palestinian National Authorities ( PNA ), regulating flight paths into and out of Gaza International Airport. The agreement was affirmed by the ICAO ( International Civil Aviation Organisation). Lately, the Egyptian Authorities have been trying to modify flight paths in order to improve flight times and air safety, but the Israeli Military Authorities are withholding cooperation and coordination.

According to the information gathered by PCHR field workers, a temporary deal was concluded on the morning of 3rd May with the Israeli Authorities allowing flights to resume from Gaza International Airport. Despite the deal, the Israeli Authorities at 11:00 am prevented planes from landing in Gaza International Airport and forced them back to Cairo Airport. Gaza International Airport remains closed.

PCHR condemns the attempts by the Israeli Authorities to control the free movements of Palestinian citizens whether in the sky, by sea or by land.

Furthermore, PCHR calls upon the International Community to intervene in order to stop Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights.