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July 21, 2013 6:53 pm

Saudi Airlines Blames Lack of Diplomatic Relations for Barring Israelis From Flights

avatar by Zach Pontz

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A Saudi Airbus 320 in 2010. Photo: Wikipedia.

Saudi Arabian Airlines Director General Khalid Abdullah Almolhem said that the state-owned company’s anti-Israeli passenger policy is due to the lack of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The statement follows controversy that emerged last week over the practice.

“If there is an absence of political relations between [Saudi Arabia] and any other country, we will not allow that country’s citizens into the kingdom,” Melhem told Saudi’s Al-Watan newspaper, in a report published on Saturday.

“[Diplomatic relations] also apply to transit passengers… in case the plane is delayed, the passenger will have to enter the country; and at that point, it would be very difficult to let him into [Saudi] if there are no diplomatic relations.”

Last week, New York City Public Advocate Bill De Blasio revealed that a probe into the airline uncovered its anti-Israel policy on flights out of New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport. De Blasio said that he sent a letter urging Abdullah Almolhem to change the policy – which is illegal under both state and federal law – or else face consequences.

De Blasio said if  the airline does not change their policy, “we will act to make sure they’re excluded from United States airports, starting with JFK.”

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  • Luigi Rosolin

    I really hope that the Saudi will made accountable, but they are in good company, with the many other Islamic, state government airline.
    Till they will not recognize Israel historical right to be there and consequently going against they Islamic religion, is not hope for fear go. Only if other country will sanction them for the wrong doing will be a change.

  • ouphe

    Countries that do not accept Israeli passports
    Iraq (except Iraqi Kurdistan)
    Saudi Arabia
    United Arab Emirates

    • Luigi Rosolin

      Well all very loving Islamic peaceful countries! Is time that the world stop this discrimination. If they are banning the Jews, secular Christian country should ban them too.

  • MiMedinat HaYam

    but arabs who live in israel are allowed in saudi arabia. its religious discrimination, not national origin disrimination.

    • Luigi Rosolin

      That is very clear! Islam are interest only to destroy the Jews as they Koran state that very clear and loud.

  • Felicity Scott

    Sorry, who made the choice not to have diplomatic relations? Just because your foreign policy is discriminatory, that does not excuse further discrimination.

  • Marg

    But will Mr De Blasio really stick to his statement………time will this space?

  • ‘De Blasio said if the airline does not change their policy, “we will act to make sure they’re excluded from United States airports, starting with JFK.”….’

    thank you Mr. De Blasio! ….. so refreshing to finally have someone in authority address this ….

    • JB Silver

      Incidentally, not only Israelis are banned from flying on Saudi Airlines; anyone with an obviously Jewish name is banned as well.