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Saudi Airlines defends ban on Israeli passengers

(Al Arabiya) The director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines, Khalid al-Melhem, responded to recent criticisms and threats to ban his airline from U.S. airports for allegedly violating federal law by “discriminating” against Israelis and Jews. He noted there is no political relationship between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Israel.

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“If there is an absence of political relations between [Saudi Arabia] and any other country, we will not allow that country’s citizens into the kingdom,” Melhem told Saudi’s Al-Watan newspaper. “[Diplomatic relations] also apply to transit passengers… in case the plane is delayed, the passenger will have to enter the country; and at that point, it would be very difficult to let him into [Saudi] if there are no diplomatic relations.”