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France: Air France fined for forcing non-Jewish passenger off flight to Tel Aviv

5th Apr 2013
France: Air France fined for forcing non-Jewish passenger off flight to Tel Aviv

A French court on Thursday ordered Air France to pay a 10,000 euro ($12,800) fine for having ordered a French woman off a flight to Tel Aviv because she was not Jewish.

Ankour was taken off the plane in the southeastern city of Nice after an Air France employee asked whether she had an Israeli passport and then, when she replied “no”, whether she was Jewish.

When the 30-year-old answered “no” again she was escorted from the flight.

The court also ordered the French flagship carrier to pay 3,000 euros in damages to the passenger and her legal fees.

Horia Ankour, a nursing student, had attempted to fly to Tel Aviv from France last April to take part in the “Welcome to Palestine” campaign, which saw hundreds of activists seek access to Palestine in a bid to travel to the West Bank.

Europe’s main airlines faced a wave of passenger fury during the campaign after cancelling some 300 tickets following heavy Israeli pressure.

French prosecutors had backed her in the case, saying it was a clear case of discrimination.

Air France had said her name was on a list of undesirables provided by Israeli authorities and it was certain she would not be allowed into the country.

Israel has barred Palestinians from the country since it first dispossessed hundreds of thousands of them in 1948 to make way for a state. Roughly seven million people of Palestinian descent are barred from returning to their ancestral homeland, and scores of activists have been denied entry.

Palestinians with Western passports are often subjected to extensive questioning at Israeli airports and sometimes turned back.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)


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