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Ministers push to reestablish airport on controversial Atarot site

The abandoned Atarot Airport, north of Jerusalem, on November 25, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
The abandoned Atarot Airport, north of Jerusalem, on November 25, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli and Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej suggest that the controversial site on the former Atarot Airport next to Jerusalem be reestablished as an air travel hub rather than a housing site.

“We could build an airport that will serve the metropolitan Jerusalem area — including 3 million Palestinians who cannot head abroad, except via Jordan,” Frej tells a meeting of the Interior Ministry’s District Planning Committee.

Michaeli tells a Labor faction meeting that she “hopes and believes that the option of building an airport at Atarot will be considered seriously.”

Last month, a local committee in the Jerusalem municipality gave preliminary approval to a mass housing project on the grounds of the old Atarot Airport in East Jerusalem, sparking concern from Washington.

Israel then indicated it would walk back the plan, but the US was dismayed to see that it nevertheless remained on the docket for today’s meeting of the District Planning Committee in the Interior Ministry.

Earlier today, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that a deal for the area would be reached that would not anger the White House.

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