Talks Fail To Reopen Arafat Airport
The deal brokered last week by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to relax travel restrictions to and from the Gaza Strip did not go far enough to reopen Yasser Arafat International Airport, as Israel continues to resist pressure to allow the Palestinians their own means of international airlinks they need to rebuild their economy. Israel has agreed only to continue talks on the issue. Last month Palestinian National Authority transportation minister Sa’d-al-Din Khurma said his ministry could finish renovating the airport within six months. It would take another six months to install radar and other equipment donated by the Spanish government, he added. In December 2001 and January 2002 Israeli troops seized the airport and destroyed its runway and radar equipment. It has not operated since then.