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      Financial Crisis? PA Planning Airport and Railway

      PA announces several new transportation related projects and is even seeking to expand into areas under Israeli control.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 2/11/2014, 6:44 AM

      EU-funded construction in Gaza
      EU-funded construction in Gaza
      Israel news photo: Flash 90

      Despite complaining of a financial crisis, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is working on several new transportation related projects in the areas under its control - and is even seeking to expand into areas under Israeli control.

      The Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency reported on Monday that the PA’s Ministry of Transport has been working with Egypt to prepare plans for an airport in the areas of Judea and Samaria under its control and for a seaport and railway line in Gaza.

      Nabil Dmeidi, PA minister of transport and chairman of Palestinian Airlines, told Ma'an that the transport ministry has signed a protocol of cooperation with Egypt's civil aviation authority in order to benefit from Egyptian expertise.

      The airport is planned to be built east of Jericho, Dmeidi said.

      If that is not enough, he also told Ma’an that Egyptian experts are due to visit the region to explore possible locations for a second smaller airport on land currently designated as Area C, which is under full Israeli security and administrative control.

      Dmeidi, who is currently visiting Cairo, added that a plan is being discussed to build a railway line between Gaza and Egypt, with the nearest Egyptian railway station 70 kilometers away in Beer al-Abed.

      Plans are also being discussed to build a seaport in Gaza, he told Ma’an.

      The Yasser Arafat International Airport in Gaza was destroyed by the IDF after the terror onslaught known as the Second Intifada or the Oslo War, which began in 2000.

      Inaugurated in 1998, it was able to handle 700,000 passengers per year and was visited by former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

      Palestinian Airlines resumed operations in 2012 but, since the Gaza airport is in ruins, only offers flights between Egypt’s El-Arish and Amman.

      The renewal of operations was facilitated by an agreement reached between the Palestinian Transportation Ministry and the authorities in Egypt and Jordan.

      The latest projects come as the PA has continued to claim that it is suffering from an economic crisis. Its former Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, several times warned the entity may fail financially and cease to exist because of its financial crisis.

      The PA, which relies heavily on foreign donors, has been begging the world to step up financial aid in order to save it from collapsing. At the same time it has continued to provide huge monthly salaries to terrorists serving time in Israeli prisons while blaming Israel for the financial crisis.

      Monday’s report is not the first time that the PA has announced a project in Area C, despite it not being under its control.

      In 2012, Fayyad inaugurated a water dam to be built in “Palestine” at a cost of over $1 million, ignoring the fact that the project was located in an area under Israeli sovereignty.