JERUSALEM (AP) _ Israel has threatened to close down the newly opened Palestinian-run Gaza airport over a security violation, an Israeli official said Tuesday, a move that could further undermine the already fragile peace process.

Civilian Airport Authority Director Avner Yarkoni said Palestinian airport workers refused to let Israeli security officials check the identity of passengers, most of whom worked for the Palestinian Authority, who arrived on an Egyptian plane Sunday afternoon.

In a letter sent Monday to the chairman of the Palestinian Civil Aviation Authority Brig. Gen. Fayez Zeidan, Yarkoni said repeated violations could cause Israel to shut down the airport. Israel retains security control over flights into Gaza International Airport.

Zeidan said Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and his entourage were aboard the plane in question, and he said that exempted it from Israeli security checks.

The airport's opening last month, stipulated by the accords brokered by President Clinton at Wye River, Md., in October, was hailed by Palestinians as a milestone toward independence and statehood.

Since then, Israel has accused the Palestinians of failing to contain anti-Israel violence, and has frozen the accords. The Palestinians, in turn, accuse Israel of reneging on an agreement to release Palestinians jailed for anti-Israel activities.