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Israeli Jewish Passengers Force Removal of Israeli Arab and Palestinian Passengers From Flight

Israeli Jews stopped a flight bound for Tel Aviv from departing until two passengers described as an Israeli Arab and a Palestinian left the plane.

Two passengers disembarked a plane en route to Israel after other passengers demanded their removal on as Aegean Airlines flight Monday. According to The Guardian, “Israeli media identified the two as an Israeli Arab and a Palestinian, and said the protesting passengers were Jewish.”

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Jewish Israeli passengers believed Israeli Arab and Palestinian passengers on the flight, which originated in Athens and was destined for Tel Aviv, posed a security risk. The objecting flyers notified the crew of their concerns and stood in the aisles to prevent the flight from taking off.

Quoting Aegean, Haaretz reported that “’an initially small group’ of passengers ‘very vocally and persistently’ demanded that two Israeli Arab citizens be ‘checked for security issues.’ With the flight unable to take off, the captain called the airport police, who checked the ‘documents and identities’ of the two passengers and found nothing amiss. But by then, ‘a much larger group of passengers’ had begun protesting the presence of the two Israeli Arabs, ‘despite the assurances given by the crew, according to Aegean Airlines.’”

After a one-and-a-half hour delay, the Israeli Arab and the Palestinian passengers agreed to disembark in return for hotel rooms and compensation. Even after that, the group of passengers insisted the crew conduct an additional security check, causing the captain to warn them that they would be forcibly removed from the plane without compensation. The passengers sat down, and the flight departed.

“We again thank the two Israeli passengers who agreed to disembark for their understanding and collaboration and we apologize for the whole episode, which was indeed extremely unfortunate,” the Aegean Airlines spokesman told Haaretz.

Michal Rozin, a member of Israel’s Knesset, called for an urgent meeting of the country’s Economic Affairs Committee.

“The State of Israel has a responsibility to its citizens,” Rozin said. “It can’t be that a commercial company, which has signed aviation agreements with Israel, allows itself to disembark passengers based on their physical appearance at the demands of (other) passengers.”

Rozin blamed government leaders for the incident and said that “the prime minister and his ministers sow fear and hate through slander and incitement, and this is the result. The government must understand that marking Israeli-Arab citizens as potential terrorists leads to the loss of morals and values that endangers our future as a society.”

[Photo: Aegean Airlines]

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11 Comments
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HatAndJacket January 25, 2016

Luke, flyertalk is not a forum for throwing out baseless politically charged words like "apartheid" to unfairly demonize Israel. If you'd like to engage in these practices, please take yourself elsewhere. If you want to comment on a flyer talk article, keep it to aviation related comments. Though tempting as it is debunk such outrageously idiotic claims like "apartheid" and "ethnic cleansing," I will not allow this forum to become a political debate.

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LukeO9 January 9, 2016

HatAndJacket is right. Because Israel embarks on a campaign of apartheid to the extent of ethnic cleansing, it is very odd, and thus suspicious that a Palestinian would be flying to Tel Aviv. Nevertheless, the fact that these protesters (against the presence of Arab-Israelis) weren’t arrested, demonstrates the hopeless predicament faced by the Palestinians.

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jahason January 8, 2016

Kuwait Airline recently lost rights to fly PAX between LHR and JFK because they refused to carry an Israeli citizen. In this case anyone PAX refusing to allow an Israeli Arab to fly should also be banned. there should be no appeasement either way.

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Xandrios January 7, 2016

This is Flyertalk, right? It would help the author of articles like these to actually ready the Flyertalk board before posting.. So the pilot did take offence and told the cabin that there is no reason not to carry these two passengers. Everyone who had a problem with that could leave the aircraft. However, the two men at that moment voluntarily left themselves due to all the commotion.

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joshwex90 January 7, 2016

I still don't understand this story. Let whoever complain about whomever. How could the flight crew kick off 2 pax because someone complained? What justification did the FAs have for that?