History - UN Gaza Airport, 1950s and 60s Background

Between 1956 and 1967, the United Nations operated an airport in the Gaza Strip as part of the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF). It was established to supervise the "disentanglement" of the armies of Egypt, Britain, France, and Israel in the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip. Historical images show UN planes at the Gaza airstrip, which served the UN Emergency Force and Gaza's inhabitants. The use of the airport was expanded from military purposes to civilian applications whereby UN planes provided transportation services and carried passengers and humanitarian/commercial cargo in and out of the Gaza Strip.

There are numerous testimonies that PUA has heard from Palestinians who confirmed that they traveled on UN planes from Gaza to Beirut as well as to Cyprus and other destinations. There is also information confirming that the Royal Air Force used the same airport (during the United Kingdom’s “mandate” or occupation of Palestine) to support allied operations during WWII in the Middle East and North Africa against the Axis powers. 


The United Nations began utilizing the runway and the former military base after the 1956 Suez Crisis. The use of the airport was expanded from solely military purposes to civilian applications. The UN’s Emergency Force had a large airbase in the Egyptian town of El Arish (northern Sinai) that served as a maintenance hub for many airplanes which were used by the UN’s Gaza airport.

Minister of National Defense of Canada Visits Canadian Troops Serving with UNEF (United Nations Emergency Force)
 

17 June 1964, Gaza Airstrip

Photo Source: United Nations Multimedia - Photo # 142575

UN Force (UNEF) heads to the Congo

1 July 1960, Gaza Airstrip

Photo Source: United Nations Multimedia - Photo # 138582

UN Under-Secretary Visits the UNEF

22 June 1962, Gaza Airstrip

Photo Source: United Nations Multimedia - Photo # 98949

General Burns Leaves Gaza, Handing Over UNEF Command to General Gyani

22 December 1959, Gaza Airstrip

Photo Source: United Nations Multimedia - Photo # 71156

Ingemar Johanson Arrives in Gaza for UNEF Exhibition

4 March 1960, Gaza Airstrip

Photo Source: United Nations Multimedia - Photo # 144314

Ingemar Johanson in Gaza with UNEF

8 March 1960, Gaza Strip

Photo Source: United Nations Multimedia - Photo # 144316

UNEF in Gaza

1960s, Gaza Strip

Photo Source: DND, vintagewings.ca

UNEF in Gaza

1965, Gaza Airstrip

Photo Source: Gord Jenkins, National Defence Image Library, Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Center

UNEF in Gaza 

1960s, Gaza Strip

Photo Source: National Defence Image Library, Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Center

UNEF in Gaza

1960s, Gaza Airstrip

Photo Source: National Defence Image Library, Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Center

UNEF in Gaza

1960s, Gaza Airstrip

Photo Source: National Defence Image Library, Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Center

UNEF in Gaza

1960s, Gaza Airstrip

Photo Source: National Defence Image Library, Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Center

UNEF in Gaza

1960s, Gaza Strip

Photo Source: National Defence Image Library, Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Center

The United Nations Emergency Force (ENEF)

1 April 1959, Gaza Airstrip

Photo Source: United Nations Multimedia - Photo # 145563

Brazilian Envoy Visits UNEF Troops in Gaza 

1 March 1964, Gaza Airstrip

Photo Source: United Nations Multimedia - Photo # 143444

New Commander Takes Over UNEF Canadian Contingent 

7 August 1960, Gaza Airstrip

Photo Source: United Nations Multimedia - Photo # 139302

UN Under-Secretary Ralph Bunche Visits UNEF in Gaza Strip 

23 April 1959, Gaza Airstrip

Photo Source: United Nations Multimedia - Photo # 98711

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