A flight from Athens to Tel Aviv was delayed for almost two hours on Sunday night after a group of Jewish Israeli passengers refused to fly with Palestinians. The Jewish Israeli’s accused the Israeli Arabs of being “terrorists” and posing a “security threat.”
According to Aegean Airlines, before the flight could depart, a small group of passengers “very vocally and persistently” demanded that two Palestinian citizens be “checked for security issues.”
The airline stated that although it was “unfortunate” that the Jewish Israelis were “possibly racially profiling the customers” in question “because safety must be first, the pilot did feel compelled to delay the flight”, in order to “call the police.”
After the police had arrived on the scene and checked the two passengers “documents and identities” they found nothing wrong, however, “a much larger group of passengers” started to protest against the presence of the two Palestinians, “despite the assurances given by the crew.”
An airline spokesperson said the whole incident came to an end only when the two passengers were forced to leave the flight after being singled out by fellow passengers, and had to take a different flight the next day.
The spokesperson added: “We thank again the two Israeli passengers that agreed to disembark for their understanding and collaboration and we apologise for the whole episode which was indeed extremely unfortunate.”
The removal of Israeli Arab passengers from an international flight based upon their physical appearance, due to unreasonable and unsubstantiated demands by other passengers, demonstrates a growing trend of fear mongering against non-Jewish Israeli’s. It also raises wider questions about the treatment of non-Jewish Israeli Arabs more generally, whether inside or outside of Israel.