Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 June 2019

Israel rejects air link between Gaza and Qatar

Envoy says Israel insisted the airport would have to be in an area under its control

Palestinians gather to receive financial aid from the Qatar government in Gaza city yesterday. AFP
Palestinians gather to receive financial aid from the Qatar government in Gaza city yesterday. AFP

Israel has rejected a Qatari proposal to open an air link between the blockaded Gaza Strip and Doha, an envoy from Doha said.

Mohammed Al Emadi, a Qatari diplomat in the territory, told Palestinian news agency Sawa that Qatar offered to handle security for the route to ease Israeli concerns.

Israel said the airport would have to be in areas under its control and Mr Al Emadi said his country would review the proposal. It is unclear where Israel would open the airport.

Israel and Egypt imposed an air, land and sea blockade of Gaza after the rulers Hamas seized power in 2007.

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Gaza’s Yasser Arafat International Airport has been in ruins since Israel bombed it in 2001. It was built in 1998 but became inoperable during the Second Intifada in 2000.

As part of its efforts to boost its international image amid a dispute with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt over its funding and support of terror groups, Doha recently agreed to a deal with Israel that would provide Gaza with millions of dollars to pay the salaries of civil servants.

The deal angered the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, internationally recognised as the governing body for Palestinians, because it sidelined officials in Ramallah, fuelling a feud between the PA and Hamas.

Updated: December 11, 2018 02:43 PM

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