Israel plans to allow air travel for Gazans from Ramon Airport: reports
The Israeli government intends to announce a raft of economic and travel plans for the besieged Gaza Strip, according to Israeli news outlet Channel 12.
The possibility for Palestinian residents of Gaza to travel using the southern Israel airport of Ramon are included in the draft proposals.
Defence minister Benny Gantz and prime minister Yair Lapid also intend to gradually increase the number of work visas to 20,000, the Israeli news channel said.
Israel's Airports Authority said Tuesday that Palestinians from the occupied West Bank would be offered special flights from Ramon Airport to destinations in Turkey.
The move by Israel follows pressure from the United States to ease travel for Palestinians, as prospects for establishing an independent Palestinian state and reviving long-stalled negotiations on ending Israeli-Palestinian conflict appear dim.
Representatives of the Palestinians, who routinely have their movements restricted by Israel, said they were not a party to the decision, and say it is no substitution for restored use of Palestinian airports.
"Nobody consulted with us on this matter," said Wasel Abu Yousef, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
"What we seek is the return of Al-Quds International Airport to operate as the State of Palestine's airport."
Palestinians from areas Israel occupied in a 1967 war cannot fly from Israel's Ben Gurion Airport without special permission.
The reported plans to relax travel restrictions for Gazans comes just days after a ceasefire between Israel and armed Palestinian factions was agreed.
The Israeli military bombarded the Gaza Strip last week for three days, killing 49 Palestinians.
Israel said the deadly assault was launched in response to an imminent threat from Islamic Jihad fighters to its citizens in the area around Gaza.