Atarot Airport

Atarot Airport

Overview
Atarot Airport , is a small airport located between Jerusalem and Ramallah
Ramallah
Ramallah is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank located 10 kilometers north of Jerusalem, adjacent to al-Bireh. It currently serves as the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority...

. It was the first airport in Mandate Palestine
Mandate Palestine
Mandate Palestine existed while the British Mandate for Palestine, which formally began in September 1923 and terminated in May 1948, was in effect...

. It has been closed since the Second Intifada.



Until 1930, the airfield in Kalandia
Kalandia
Kalandia also Qalandiya is a Palestinian village and a refugee camp located between Jerusalem and Ramallah. In 2006, 1,154 people were living in the village of Kalandia according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics...

 was the only airport in Palestine. It was used by the British military authorities and prominent guests bound for Jerusalem.
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Encyclopedia
Atarot Airport , is a small airport located between Jerusalem and Ramallah
Ramallah
Ramallah is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank located 10 kilometers north of Jerusalem, adjacent to al-Bireh. It currently serves as the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority...

. It was the first airport in Mandate Palestine
Mandate Palestine
Mandate Palestine existed while the British Mandate for Palestine, which formally began in September 1923 and terminated in May 1948, was in effect...

. It has been closed since the Second Intifada.

History



Until 1930, the airfield in Kalandia
Kalandia
Kalandia also Qalandiya is a Palestinian village and a refugee camp located between Jerusalem and Ramallah. In 2006, 1,154 people were living in the village of Kalandia according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics...

 was the only airport in Palestine. It was used by the British military authorities and prominent guests bound for Jerusalem.

The airport was located near Atarot
Atarot
Atarot was a moshav in Mandatory Palestine, north of Jerusalem along the highway to Ramallah. The village was captured and destroyed by the Jordanian Arab Legion during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War...

, a Jewish village captured and destroyed by the Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

ian Arab Legion
Arab Legion
The Arab Legion was the regular army of Transjordan and then Jordan in the early part of the 20th century.-Creation:...

 during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

, and to the Arab village of Kalandia
Kalandia
Kalandia also Qalandiya is a Palestinian village and a refugee camp located between Jerusalem and Ramallah. In 2006, 1,154 people were living in the village of Kalandia according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics...

 (after 1948, also a refugee camp
Refugee camp
A refugee camp is a temporary settlement built to receive refugees. Hundreds of thousands of people may live in any one single camp. Usually they are built and run by a government, the United Nations, or international organizations, or NGOs.Refugee camps are generally set up in an impromptu...

 of the same name). Both had at different times, and under different political circumstances, given their name to the airport.

The airport was controlled by Jordanian troops from 1948 until the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

 in June 1967, after which it was unilaterally incorporated into the Greater Jerusalem municipal area.

In the 1970s and early 1980s the Israeli authorities invested considerable resources in upgrading the airport and creating the infrastructure for a full-fledged international airport, which was intended to become the equal of Israel's Ben Gurion Airport. However, such efforts run afoul of the area's disputed international position. International bodies in general and international aviation authorities in particular proved unwilling to recognize it as part of Israel - its ambiguous situation reflected in having two divergent ICAO codes (see below).

As a result, the landing of international airplanes at Atarot was considered a controversial political act which established airlines shied away from, and were actively pressured by their governments not to take. Therefore, the airport was only used sparsely by occasional charter flights and domestic Israeli ones, which did not provide an economic justification for its operation. For some years, it was operated at a considerable loss, borne by the government for purely political reasons.

Its position was further undermined by the First Intifada
First Intifada
The First Intifada was a Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories. The uprising began in the Jabalia refugee camp and quickly spread throughout Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem....

 of 1987, giving the area - thickly populated by Palestinians in nearby Ramallah and various villages, towns and neighborhoods - a "dangerous" reputation and making Israeli Jerusalemites prefer Ben Gurion Airport even for domestic flights.

The Second Intifada of 2000 delivered the coup de grace. As noted at the time by journalist Larry Derfner (see external link below), in the early months of the Intifada the airport's runaways became covered with "thousands of stones" thrown by Palestinians, an obvious grave hazard to any air traffic.

In 2001, the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 closed the airport to civilian air traffic and took it over for military use - not by the Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

 but rather as a base for ground troops involved in confrontations with the Palestinians.

In maps presented by Israel at the Camp David
Camp David
Camp David is the country retreat of the President of the United States and his guests. It is located in low wooded hills about 60 mi north-northwest of Washington, D.C., on the property of Catoctin Mountain Park in unincorporated Frederick County, Maryland, near Thurmont, at an elevation of...

 talks in the summer of 2000, Atarot was included in the Israeli built-up area of Jerusalem.
This was firmly rejected by the Palestinian delegation, which claimed the place as the future Palestinian National Airport, to serve Palestinian East Jerusalem and the whole of the West Bank. This was one aspect of the disagreements which caused the Camp David talks' collapse and the descent into violence and bloodshed.

Yossi Beilin
Yossi Beilin
Dr. Yosef "Yossi" Beilin is a left-wing Israeli politician and a former Knesset member, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister and Justice Minister, representing both the Labor Party and Meretz-Yachad, of which he served as chairman between 2003 and 2006. He is best known for his involvement with the...

, at the time an Israeli government minister and senior negotiatiator, later a peace activist and founder of the Geneva Initiative, proposed that the airport be used jointly by Israel and Palestine, as part of an overall sharing of Jerusalem. Beilin cited the successful model of Geneva International Airport, which is used by both Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 and France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. While Palestinians did not reject this idea out of hand, the Israeli governments headed by Sharon
Sharon
Sharon can be a female name which can be spelled with one "r" or two . It also refers to several places in the world.It derives from a Israelite place name meaning "forest" in Hebrew, referring to a fertile plain near the coast of Israel. This gives its name to a type of flowering shrub, the rose...

, Olmert
Olmert
Olmert, Ollmert * Ehud Olmert , an Israeli political figure, the 12th Prime Minister of Israel* Aliza Olmert , a German-Israeli artist, photographer, author and social worker, wife of Ehud...

 and Netanyahu
Netanyahu
Netanyahu is a surname, and may refer to the following members of the Netanyahu family in Israel.First generation:* Benzion Netanyahu , scholar of Jewish history, Zionist activist, professor emeritus of Cornell University, author of The Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth-Century Spain and...

 were all cool to it.

On 29 December 2009 the Palestinian Authority cabinet under Salam Fayyad
Salam Fayyad
Salam Fayyad is a Palestinian politician and Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority of the Palestinian National Authority. His first appointment, on 15 June 2007, which was justified by President Mahmoud Abbas on the basis of "national emergency", has not been confirmed by the...

 announced its intentition to claim the Kalandia Airport for the future State of Palestine, which Fayyad aims to bring into being by 2011.

A future new revenant Jewish neighbourhood has been suggested on the land of the current airport.

ICAO codes


The airport is sometimes shown with two different ICAO codes. The LL designator is used by ICAO for airports in Israel and OJ is the code for Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

.

See also

  • Yasser Arafat International Airport
    Yasser Arafat International Airport
    Yasser Arafat International Airport , formerly Gaza International Airport and Dahaniya International Airport, is located in the Gaza Strip, in Rafah close to the Egyptian border....

  • Ovda airport
  • Eilat airport
    Eilat Airport
    Eilat Airport , also known as J. Hozman Airport , is an Israeli airport located in the city of Eilat. It mostly handles domestic flights to Tel Aviv and Haifa with international flights operating instead to Ovda International Airport, but a few international flights on aircraft that can handle the...

  • Ben Gurion International Airport
    Ben Gurion International Airport
    Ben Gurion International Airport , also referred to by its Hebrew acronym Natbag , is the largest and busiest international airport in Israel, handling 12,160,339 passengers in 2010...