Regional cooperation in air transport — Israel and the Palestinians
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This article analyzes the basic structure of aviation in the Middle East and the development possibilities as a result of Israeli-Palestinian cooperation consequent to the peace process. This paper is a first attempt at estimating the advantages and disadvantages of such cooperation to the Israeli and Palestinian economies. In addition, the research leads to an initial formulation of how to maximize the benefits for both parties.
Israeli-Palestinian cooperation offers more than objective economic advantages; such cooperation can also form a functional base for a political-policy framework. In economic terms, both sides can benefit from economies of scale and more efficient utilization of the existing facilities, thus avoiding the waste of valuable resources in establishing two sets of aviation facilities. However these economic criteria are not the only advantage of cooperation. In fact, critical operational and security requirements exist as well, both in terms of passenger security and safety, where air traffic control requiring coordination in a limited airways system. Furthermore, trends in the air travel market point to future bilateral agreements on the basis of blocs of nations and not individual countries. Therefore, Isreali-Palestinian cooperation would enable Israel to maintain the existing framework of favorable bilateral agreement with Europa and the United States.
Cooperation of this kind is viable both economically and politically, as it avoids political conflicts by providing infrastructure on an equal basis to the Palestinians, either by lease or purchase of Israeli facilities. The primary advantage of joint ownership is that the Palestinians will save the development and construction costs of new infrastructure, while Israel can both develop the existing infrastructure and free funds for economic development. At the same it is possible to take advantage of economies of scale in order to reap the economic benefits of this process.
KeywordsMiddle East Security Requirement Regional Cooperation Economic Criterion Political Conflict
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