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Another Israeli provocation

Feb 13,2019 - Last updated at Feb 13,2019

Despite repeated Jordanian protests, Israel went ahead and officially declared its new Ramon Airport open on January 21.

The controversial airport is about 20 kilometres north of Eilat and Aqaba, and is only 300 metres outside Jordan’s territory. Any landing at or take off from the airport would centainly risk violating Jordanian airspace. It is virtually impossible to guarantee that flights to and from the new airport would not violate Jordanian airspace, in violation of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, also known as Chicago Convention of 1944.

The Chicago Convention established the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as a specialised UN agency to regulate air travel. Article 1 of the Chicago Convention stipulates loud and clear that "every state has complete and exclusive sovereignty over airspace above its territory". 

Yet, Israel ignores all the existing international norms on air travel and, above all, the 1994 Wadi Araba Peace Treaty with Jordan that calls for close cooperation and collaboration between the two countries on all matters touching on their bilateral relations.

Typical of Israel, it defies international rules and brushes aside Jordan's legitimate concerns by officially opening Ramon Airport so close to the Jordanian border that makes it virtually impossible for flights to and from it not to violate Jordan's airspace. 

Under the circumstances, the dispute between Jordan and Israel over this new provocative airport calls for either an arbitration procedure to render a legal judgement of this grave Israeli violation, or better still submit the entire issue to the International Court of Justice for a legal opinion.

Israel cannot reject either procedure to settle this new Israeli threat to peace and security and must meanwhile put on hold the operational date for the airport, pending the exhaustion of the available procedures for settling the dispute. Short of this, Israel risks heightening tension with Jordan at a time when relations between the two countries are already tense.

Come to think of it, Israel has been warned ahead of time that constructing this airport so close to Jordanian territory would be a time bomb ready to explode at any moment. It is never too late for Israel to play by international rules and de-escalate tension over the airport by yielding to international rules and judgements sooner rather than later.

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