Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:1PM
Once a bustling airport, Gaza’s sole air terminal now lies in ruins. The airport was destroyed by Israeli forces over a decade ago. Gazans say the ruined airport is a symbol of their broken connection with the outside world. This report tells more about the difficulties Palestinians go through to travel by air.
Gaza's destroyed airport continues to stand witness to a shattered Palestinian dream of the right to free movement. The Gaza international airport is located in the southern-most tip of the Gaza Strip near the border with Egypt. Israeli forces bombed the Gaza international airport in 2001 and wreaked havoc on every corner of the coastal enclave’s sole air terminal. The destruction of the airport has badly affected the travel industry in Gaza. The Gaza International airport was considered a first step towards Palestinian independence. Its only runway was torn up by Israeli tanks and bulldozers during numerous incursions. Nowadays Gazans must first travel an arduous journey to Egypt by car via the Rafah crossing to use either the Al-Arish or Cairo airports to board planes. The International Civil Aviation Organization condemned Israel for the destruction of the airport. Israel claimed that the air port posed a security risk. Rights groups accused Israel of violating the rights of Gazans to freedom of movement by destroying the airport and keeping border crossings closed. Years after its destruction many here say they are pessimistic about the airport being rebuilt again in the foreseeable future. Gaza having an international airport could be a step closer to independence. Now, its debris stands as a symbol of its broken connection to the outside world.