Palestinian Airlines Back In Business
In the late 1990s, when Palestinians appeared on the verge of a statehood deal with Israel, Palestinian Airlines operated from Gaza International Airport, flew tens of thousands of passengers a year to Middle Eastern destinations and planned to expand to Europe.
Those ambitions were crushed by the outbreak of a Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation in September 2000, following the collapse of U.S.-led peace talks. Over the next year, Israeli troops destroyed the Gaza airport, and Palestinian Airlines was forced to move its base to El-Arish, an Egyptian coastal resort about 60 kilometers from Gaza.
Seven years ago, the airline stopped flying altogether after its reservoir of passengers dried up. It had mainly served Gazans who, starting in 2005, could no longer reach El-Arish because of increasingly frequent Israeli closures of Gaza’s borders.