TEL AVIV (VINnews) — An Emirates Airlines Tunisian-born pilot has been suspended for refusing to fly his company’s plane to Tel Aviv.Click to get Text Message Updates right to your phone
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Monem Sahib al-Taba, who works for Emirates airline, revealed on Facebook that his activity as a pilot was suspended due to his refusal to participate in a trip to Tel Aviv. Al-Taba wrote that: “My activity as a pilot in Emirates Airlines was suspended due to my refusal to participate in a flight to Tel Aviv … God is only who takes care of me … I do not regret it.”
Emirates Airlines announced last year it will begin operating daily direct flights to Tel Aviv in March 2021 following the normalization of ties between the UAE and Israel last August.
Al-Taba’s suspension is dependent on the results of a disciplinary committee hearing on the matter, but in the meantime the company has forced Al-Taba to close his Facebook account in the wake of his post revealing the suspension.
Prominent Tunisian politicians have praised Al-Taba’s stand. The deputy leader of the Ennahdha party, Hayet Omri, wrote on her Facebook page that al-Taba’s position “is a source of honour and pride”.
Mahdi Abdel-Gawad, a leader in the Long Live Tunisia party, said the pilot’s moral stance is evidence that the Palestinian cause is still in the hearts of many Tunisians.
“Many will be rejoiced at the courageous move of the Tunisian captain,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “It is true that this action is living proof of the status of the Palestine issue in the minds of Tunisians, but in practice it will fall under consequences that may lead to losing his job.”
Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco have followed the UAE and normalized ties with Israel.
Tunisia has previously stated it will not normalize relations with Israel, and that its position on the Palestinians’ legitimate rights “will not be affected by any international developments.”