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Jordan: ex-minister calls on Palestinians not to use Israeli airport

The terminal at Eilat - Ramon Airport [Wikipedia]
The terminal at Eilat - Ramon Airport [Wikipedia]

A former minister of information in Jordan has criticised Palestinians for flying abroad from Israel's Ramon Airport, Quds Press has reported. Samih Maayteh made his comment following the first such flight with passengers from the occupied West Bank heading to Cyprus.
"This is an Israeli measure that serves Israeli interests carried out in coordination with the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, which offered free services to Israel at the expense of Jordan," said Maayteh. He reiterated that the flights come at a cost to Jordan's Queen Alia International Airport outside Amman, which is normally used by Palestinians from the occupied West Bank to travel overseas.

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According to the Jordanian Times, the Jordan Society of Tourism and Travel Agents (JSTA) said that opening Ramon Airport to Palestinians is expected to reduce the number of travellers leaving via Jordan by 55 to 65 per cent. The society called on the Jordanian government to "move fast" to solve the problem, and demanded that the procedures for Palestinians to enter the Kingdom through designated crossings should be eased, with reduced taxes and fees.

Mahmoud Al Khasawneh, a member of the JSTA board of directors, pointed out that approximately 500,000 Palestinian travellers enter Jordan from the West Bank each year via the King Hussein Bridge, whether for tourism or transit tourism, or to visit relatives.

Meanwhile, the National Forum for the Defence of Resistance and Protection of the Country called on Palestinians not to use Ramon Airport. The forum called on the Jordanian government to cut all relations with Israel. It stressed that the Israeli measure to let the Palestinians use Ramon Airport "is a form of obligatory normalisation."

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Israel officially announced its approval on 2 August to allow Palestinians from the West Bank to travel through the airport near Eilat. The first flight took off on 22 August for Cyprus carrying some Palestinian passengers.

PA Transportation Minister Assem Salem said in a radio interview last week that he would make some suggestions to deter Palestinians from travelling through Ramon Airport. He denied any contacts between the PA and Israel regarding use of the Israeli facility.

CyprusIsraelJordanMiddle EastNewsPalestine
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