Israel Willing to Let Gazans Who Want to Emigrate to Fly Out via Its Territory, Official Says

Official says Israel ready to pay for flights, but that no country has agreed to accept emigrants ■ Some 35,000 Gazans left via Egypt in 2018

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Palestinians gather at a makeshift bus station as they wait to get permits to take a bus to travel through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, November 2017.
Palestinians gather at a makeshift bus station as they wait to get permits to take a bus to travel through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, November 2017.Credit: Wissam Nassar/dpa

Israeli authorities are willing to allow Gaza Strip residents who want to emigrate to fly out via Israel if a country is found to accept them, a senior government official said on Monday. According to the official, Israel would even pay for the flight. The official added that the government had asked a few countries, including some in the Middle East, whether they would be willing to accept Palestinians from Gaza, and was turned down.

>> Gazans' only way out is through Egypt – if they can afford it | Analysis

Some media outlets in Israel quoted the official, who spoke to journalists during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Ukraine, as saying that Israel would agree to organize shuttles from the Gaza Strip to an airport in the south from which they would take off.

Last year 35,000 Palestinians emigrated from Gaza via the Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt. Most of those leaving are young people who are relatively well off, including 150 doctors from Gaza hospitals. Most of those leaving fly to Turkey, where local intermediaries put them on ships bound for Greece, and from there they continue to Europe.

In November 2017, the Rafah crossing was opened to Palestinians for the first time in a decade, which allowed many of them to leave the Strip. Until the crossing was opened Gaza residents could not fly except in rare, extraordinary circumstances, and with the approval of Israeli security authorities.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN


The Orion nebula, photographed in 2009 by the Spitzer Telescope.

What if the Big Bang Never Actually Happened?

Relatives mourn during the funeral of four teenage Palestinians from the Nijm family killed by an errant rocket in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip, August 7.

Why Palestinian Islamic Jihad Rockets Kill So Many Palestinians

בן גוריון

'Strangers in My House': Letters Expelled Palestinian Sent Ben-Gurion in 1948, Revealed


AIPAC vs. American Jews: The Toxic Victories of the 'pro-Israel' Lobby

Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic speaks during a press conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia in May.

‘This Is Crazy’: Israeli Embassy Memo Stirs Political Storm in the Balkans

Hamas militants take part in a military parade in Gaza.

Israel Rewards Hamas for Its Restraint During Gaza Op