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Report: PA submits request for new airport

Oct. 12, 2010 12:40 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 16, 2010 9:28 A.M.)
TEL AVIV (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority has submitted a request to the Israeli Prime Minister's Office for the construction of a new Palestinian airport in the central West Bank district of Jericho, Hebrew-language media reported Tuesday.

The four square kilometer airport, 10km southeast of Jerusalem, was said to include plans for a single terminal, six gates for boarding, a large parking lot and international airport facilities and was submitted by the PA transport minister, according to the Israeli daily newspaper Maariv.

The land on which the PA hopes to build the airport on is categorized as Area C, under full Israeli security and planning control, and requires approval from Israel. According to Maariv, no response to the letter has been received, but the newspaper suggested Israel would grant the required permits.

"The airport we're planning is going to be very modern," said Dr Ali Sha'ath, a top engineer said to be with the company contracted with the project's planning, in an interview with the Hebrew-language newspaper. "It will serve residents of the West Bank and many tourists who want to come to the region," he added.

The PA was initially going to name the airport after late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, but have decided to call it the Palestine Airport, the report noted.

Talks over the airport's construction were said to have been underway for the past few weeks, hoping to raise financial support.

"Everything is ready, and we are waiting for the Israeli prime minister’s approval," said Sha'ath.

The Israeli army destroyed the Yasser Arafat International Airport in Rafah, southern Gaza in 2001, four years after its opening, rendering it out of use.

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