In internal discussions between the Ministry of Finance, parties in the Prime Minister's Office, and the National Economic Council, the cost of keeping Sde Dov Airport open and canceling the plan to close it down was estimated at NIS 14 billion, including compensation for the landowners and possible use of the land around the airport.
The Knesset Finance Committee will convene this Tuesday for another discussion on the subject. Last Thursday, the committee decided almost unanimously to postpone removal of the airport from July 1, 2019 until January 1, 2020.
Judge Jacob Shaked ruled last Tuesday that the Attorney General or someone on his behalf must attend an urgent hearing on the closure of Sde Dov, following a petition by the managers of the large block, representing the landowners. The petitioners are demanding that the state fulfill its agreements with them by vacating Sde Dov at the stipulated time, with no delay.
Commenting on the complaints of the large block (the land on which Sde Dov is located) managers about the legislative process, Shaked said that it was "allegedly continuing in breach of agreements approved in the proceedings here." He was referring to the initiative by new Ministry of Transport Bezalel Smotrich, who is planning hold a quick vote on legislation to postpone the closure of Sde Dov, on which he says that there is general agreement in all Knesset factions.
The bill seeks to halt the closure of the airport, while continuing simultaneous planning procedures for continuing flights in a limited area there. The bill throws the landowners a bone in the form of anchoring their status as the holders of first rights to future construction on the airport site. Meanwhile, it is hoped that the consequences and significance of closing down Sde Dov can be reassessed.
Shaked said, "The Court assumes that those involved will wait for this hearing without creating additional facts before the hearing date."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 23, 2019
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