Regional Cooperation Minister Issawi Frej is promoting the construction of an airport that would become the first-ever airfield under joint Israeli-Palestinian ownership, Ynet has learned on Tuesday.
The plan comes a week after the Jerusalem municipality green-lit what it described as a new eastern neighborhood on lands located over the West Bank boundary, near the Palestinian hub city of Ramallah.
The site, which is known by the name Atarot, once housed an airport in the days of British rule but has been since abandoned.
"As Israel's aviation needs increase, with Ben Gurion Airport very close to its capacity limitations, and as the decision on the location of Israel's next airport continues to linger, the existing resource of ready airfields in Atarot must be utilized and reopened as a joint Israeli-Palestinian airport," Frej said.
"The reconstruction of the airfield and its opening will both address the aviation needs of the Jerusalem metropolitan area and also address the need of the residents of the Palestinian Authority for an air entry and exit gate."
According to the minister's plan, the airport will be rebuilt and a Palestinian terminal will be built next to it. Subject to security arrangements, it will allow residents of the Palestinian Authority to fly directly from Jerusalem to various destinations around the world.
Frej believes that the airport could serve as many as 5 million passengers annually and will be a boon for the Israeli economy as a whole and Jerusalem's economy in particular.