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October 25, 2017 9:02 am

Germany Opens Investigation Into Kuwait Airways’ Refusal to Fly Israeli Passengers

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avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

A Kuwait Airways Boeing 777. Photo: Mark Harkin via Wikimedia Commons.

The German government has opened an inquiry into whether Kuwait Airways’ policy of refusing to fly Israeli passengers violates aviation law.

The new probe — ordered by German Federal Minister of Transport Alexander Dobrindt — is separate from legal proceedings already underway in the Frankfurt District Court stemming from a suit brought earlier this year by an Israeli citizen whose ticket to fly from Germany to Thailand via Kuwait was cancelled by the airline due to his nationality.

Brooke Goldstein — the executive director of the Lawfare Project, a US-based pro-Israel non-profit legal group which is aiding the plaintiff in the Frankfurt case — stated on Tuesday, “We commend the German Federal Ministry of Transport for launching an investigation into Kuwait Airway’s discriminatory practices. Our team will continue to pursue legal action until the German Government makes clear that Kuwait Airways must either comply with the law or cease doing business in their country.”

Nathan Gelbart — the Lawfare Project’s German counsel — added, “This case makes clear that there should be no room for discrimination in Germany. Our country’s laws and common values should call German policymakers to act immediately in ending Kuwait Airways systematic violations of civil rights in our country.”

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In 2015, Kuwait Airways — the Gulf state’s flag carrier — shut down its New York-London route following a demand by the US Transportation Department that it end its ban on Israeli passengers.

Kuwait does not share diplomatic relations with Israel. However, some other Arab nations that also do not have official ties with the Jewish state nevertheless permit Israeli citizens to fly on their airlines and transit through their airports to connect to flights to other countries.

An academic research paper published in February found that Kuwait Airways was among five Middle Eastern carriers that intentionally omit Israel from their route maps.

Earlier this month, a Facebook video posted by Israeli-Arab social media phenom Nuseir Yassin in which he criticized the ban after he was barred from boarding a Kuwait Airways flight at JFK International Airport (he had a ticket to fly to India via Kuwait) went viral.

Watch the video below:

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