43. Develop Air and Sea Transit Infrastructure for Gaza

Despite withdrawing soldiers and settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Israel still restricts the enclave’s airspace and sea access. Engaging in basic foreign commerce and overseas travel are particularly onerous tasks for Gaza Palestinians. The Gaza Strip’s Yasser Arafat International Airport, the only international airport established in the Palestinian Territories, was destroyed during the Second Intifada and remains derelict. All of these conditions amplify the already dire humanitarian and economic situation in Gaza.

Some Israeli leaders have advanced a proposal to build an artificial island off of the Gaza Strip that would host an airport and marine terminals. The facility would operate under Israeli supervision but be connected to the Strip by a causeway. Others have suggested the use of a port in Cyprus in cooperation with Israel. All of these would allow the Israelis to continue to conduct security screening while providing Gazan Palestinians with more immediate access to the outside world. However, plans for Gaza air and seaport infrastructure remain unrealized, and the crisis in the Strip continues to deteriorate. In the meantime, and in line with security considerations, Palestinians from Gaza should be allowed to use Israeli airports, primarily the Ramon Airport near the southern city of Eilat, which Israel announced in August 2022 that Palestinians from the West Bank would be able to use (to which the PA responded urging Palestinians not to take advantage of this privilege), but in fact Ramon can also offer an interim solution for Gaza’s residents.