Palestinians can start flying out of Ramon airport later this month

West Bank Palestinians who want to travel abroad must now go through the Allenby Crossing in the Jordan Valley and into neighboring Jordan for international flights out of Amman.

Cargo plane with military equipment lands at Ramon Airport (photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
Cargo plane with military equipment lands at Ramon Airport
(photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)

A pilot program to allow West Bank Palestinians to fly out of Israel's Ramon International Airport near Eilat is set to start later this month, the Airport Authority announced on Tuesday.

West Bank Palestinians who want to travel abroad must now go through the Allenby Crossing in the Jordan Valley and into neighboring Jordan for international flights out of Amman.

Most West Bank Palestinians cannot travel through Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport.

Israel is planning to open Allenby 24 hours a day by the end of September, to ease congestion at the crossing that makes it time-consuming to exit out of the West Bank.

The Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said that Palestinians would be shuttled directly from the West Bank to Ramon and that security clearances would be needed.

Cargo plane with military equipment lands at Ramon Airport (credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)Cargo plane with military equipment lands at Ramon Airport (credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)

The current state of affairs

At present, the program includes only two flights a week to Turkey on an Airbus aircraft A321 with 220 seats. One flight will head to Istanbul and the other to Antalya. Palestinians would then transfer to other flights from Istanbul.

Palestinians who leave the West Bank from Allenby and fly out of Amman can access any flight and head to any destination. 

The Palestinian Authority has not supported the Ramon airport plan and would have preferred to see Israel renovate the former Atarot airport located on the edge of Jerusalem right next to the West Bank Palestinian city of Ramallah which had been closed in 2021.

It had been hoped that Palestinians could directly access the Atarot airport from Ramallah without going through any Israeli checkpoint.

US President Joe Biden had spoken of the importance of improving travel for the Palestinians when he visited Israel and the Palestinian Territories last month.