El Al suspends South African flights

January 28, 2024 by Pesach Benson
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Israel’s national carrier, El Al, announced on Friday the suspension of flights to South Africa as of April 1.

An El Al plane takes off from Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport Photo by Kobi Richter/TPS

“Due to the current security situation, there has been a significant decrease in demand among Israeli travellers to various destinations, including Johannesburg in South Africa,” the airline said.

“In light of this, starting at the end of March 2024, we will suspend the activity on the Johannesburg-Tel Aviv line in order to adapt the target range to demands.”

The move comes hours before the International Court of Justice is due to announce an interim ruling on Israel’s military campaign in Gaza. South Africa petitioned the court to intervene, accusing Israel of committing “genocide” against the Palestinians in Gaza.

At least 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7. Around 250 Israelis and foreigners were taken to Gaza as hostages. The number of men, women, children and soldiers held captive is now believed to be 136.

Israeli representatives rejected the charges as “baseless” and argued that Israel has a right to defend itself, respects international law, and that Palestinian casualties were the result of Hamas embedding its tunnels and military infrastructure in civilian areas.

Around 52,000 Jews live in South Africa. In December, the South African Foreign Ministry said that its nationals fighting for the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza may be committing war and could become “liable for prosecution” in South Africa.

El Al said all passengers whose flights will be cancelled will be notified and offered alternative travel arrangements.
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