Israel bars Palestinians from using Ben-Gurion airport
Israel's Shin Bet security service has barred Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza from using the Ben-Gurion International Airport, citing "terror" attacks, the Ha'aretz daily reported Wednesday.
"The policy on the exit of Palestinians through the Ben-Gurion International Airport is reviewed from time to time according to current security assessment and the circumstances of specific requests," the Shin Bet was quoted as saying.
"The policy is decided by the Shin Bet together with other bodies in the security services," it added.
The Shin Bet systematically prevents Palestinian passengers from entering the only international airport, one of the most highly protected sites in the country, the report said.
Since the Palestinian intifada (uprising) broke out in Sept. 2000, the Shin Bet has issued less permission for Palestinians to use the airport.
The Shin Bet issues almost no permits at all now, and allows people to leave only in specific cases, defined as clear humanitarian cases, mainly serious medical cases, the report said.
In rare cases, the security service allows Palestinians on official mission or Palestinian VIPs to take off or land at the Ben-Gurion airport.
However, senior Palestinian officials in contact with Israeli officials have been deprived of this privilege.
Former Palestinian security chiefs Mahmoud Dahlan and Jibril Rajoub, who are to hold meetings with Israeli and European officials, had to travel today only through Cairo or Amman.
Ordinary Palestinians who wish to go abroad have to use airports in neighboring Jordan or Egypt.
West Bank residents who wish to fly are obliged to cross the border to Jordan and use the Amman airport, while Palestinians from Gaza have to cross through the Rafah border to Egypt.
Before the outbreak of the intifada, thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza used to leave the territories through the Ben-Gurion airport. Enditem