Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Case for 2nd Civilian Airport in Israel

AMNON RUBINSTEIN (President of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel) contributed the following Opinion column to this weekend's JERUSALEM POST. Highlights only. Click for the full story.

The threat of Islamist terrorism against air travelers flying between Britain and the United States has caused considerable damage despite the fact that the recent plot was thwarted. Security checks all over Europe have been beefed-up, lines at airports have grown longer, flights have been canceled.

But all this is nothing compared to the damage that could have been caused had the planes been exploded, murdering thousands of passengers. Beyond the terrible cost to human life any successful attack would damage world aviation, tourism, international trade and even globalization.

If this is true for the West, it is all the more true for Israel. Any damage to our civil aviation system would represent an extreme blow to a country that is a tiny island in a hostile ocean with no effective alternative to its air routes to the world.
An additional airport is desirable for other reasons too - to encourage competition, prevent strikes and improve service. But the first and foremost reason is security. For that reason, it would be advisable for this airport to be built at sea so that planes taking off and landing do not have to fly over residential areas.

In the context of this essential security regime Israel must convince the international civil aviation authorities of the need to deprive those who support terror, in word or deed, of the right to fly. The international community must also cut off air ties with countries that are not partners in the war on air terror.


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