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PA plans airport in West Bank, seaport and railway in Gaza

Feb. 10, 2014 11:14 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 18, 2014 7:43 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Transport has been working with Egypt to prepare plans for an airport in the occupied West Bank and a seaport and railway line in the Gaza Strip, a minister said Sunday.

Nabil Dmeidi, PA minister of transport and chairman of Palestinian Airlines, told Ma'an that the transport ministry has signed a protocol of cooperation with Egypt's civil aviation authority in order to benefit from Egyptian expertise.

The airport is planned to be built east of Jericho and Egyptian experts are due to visit the West Bank to explore possible locations for a second smaller airport on land currently designated as Area C, under full Israeli security and administrative control.

Dmeidi, who is currently visiting Cairo, added that a plan is being discussed to build a railway line between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, with the nearest Egyptian railway station 70 kilometers away in Beer al-Abed.

Plans are also being discussed to build a seaport in the Gaza Strip, he added.

The Yasser Arafat International Airport in Gaza was destroyed by Israel's military during the Second Intifada and now lies in ruins.

Inaugurated in 1998, it was able to handle 700,000 passengers per year and was visited by US President Bill Clinton as a guest.

The Oslo Accords granted Israel full control over Gaza's airspace but allowed for the construction of an airport.

Israel maintains exclusive control of Gaza's airspace and the territorial waters and has done since the military occupation of 1967.
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