The Hamas government is working toward reopening the only airport in the Gaza
Named after Yasser Arafat, the airport, which is located close to
the Egyptian border, opened in 1998, when the Palestinian Authority was still in
control of the Gaza Strip.
The airport was closed in 2001 after being
damaged by the IDF.
Ziad al-Thatha, Hamas’s deputy prime minister, said
that his government has asked the Egyptians to help reopen the airport. He did
not say when and if it would resume operations.
It is also not clear
whether the PA leadership in the West Bank would allow Hamas to run the
In the past, the PA opposed the presence of Hamas
representatives at the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and
The Hamas official, who headed his movement’s delegation to the
recent Egyptian- sponsored cease-fire talks with Israel, said that Israel has agreed to allow construction material into the Gaza Strip.
that understandings reached with Israel and Egypt also permit the export of
agricultural products, furniture and clothes from the Strip.
not say whether the Egyptians had agreed to discuss the issue of the airport
The airport was built with funding from Japan, Saudi Arabia,
Spain, Germany and Egypt. It was designed by Moroccan architects and cost
more than $85 million.
Meanwhile, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza
Strip, Issa al- Nashar, announced that Khaled Mashaal, chairman of the Hamas
Political Bureau, is expected to visit the Gaza Strip Thursday for the first
Nashar said that Mashaal and other Hamas leaders would participate
in celebrations marking the anniversary of the founding of the Islamist movement
and “victory” over Israel during last month’s Operation Pillar of
“This is an historic visit,” he said. “It comes in the aftermath
of our big victory.”
Nashar said Mashaal would be accompanied by his
deputy, Musa Abu Marzouk.