Tunisian pilot Monem al-Taba said he was suspended by the UAE flag carrier for refusing to fly to Tel Aviv.
The United Arab Emirates’ flag carrier has suspended a Tunisian pilot for refusing to fly a plane to Israel.
Monem Sahib al-Taba, who works for Emirates airline, revealed that his activity as a pilot was suspended due to his refusal to participate in a trip to Tel Aviv.
In a post on his Facebook page on Tuesday, al-Taba wrote: “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 normalisation of ties between the UAE and Israel last August.
In statements made to the local press, al-Taba said his suspension is pending his appearance before the disciplinary committee.
He also closed his Facebook account, he said, after being pressured by Emirates, due to his last post.
Many Tunisian politicians praised his anti-normalisation stance. 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 also since normalised ties with Israel.
Tunisia has previously stated it will not normalise relations with Israel, and that its position on the Palestinians’ legitimate rights will not be affected by any international developments.