Apparently for economic reasons and to demonstrate goodwill vis-à-vis the Palestinians at the time of US President Biden’s visit to the region in July of this year, Israel recently announced that it would allow Palestinians from the occupied West Bank to travel abroad through Ramon Airport near Eilat. The first flight carrying 43 passengers left for Cyprus on 22 August 2022. So far, no further flights have taken place, although preparations are reportedly underway for regular flights for Palestinian passengers from Ramon Airport.
The news of the Palestinian use of Ramon Airport has raised concerns in Jordan, with several politicians and commentators warning of economic implications for the Kingdom. Some have gone as far as calling for a ban on those Palestinians making use of the Ramon travel option – allegedly amounting to no normalization – to enter Jordan. The Palestinian leadership has tried to diffuse tensions with Jordan over the matter.
To explore the issue in greater detail, ARDD convened a roundtable at its offices in Amman on 28 August 2022 attended by several prominent experts on Jordanian and Palestinian affairs (see list of participants in the annex). The aim of the meeting was to develop recommendations to guide public opinion and decision-makers about measures and tools to respond to the decision to operate Ramon Airport for Palestinian travelers.
This note provides background information with respect to the issue (Section 2) and summarizes the main insights from the discussion (Section 3). The note ends with several policy recommendations (Section 4).