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Butcher Netanyahu’s plane forced to make detour around Indonesia

24 February 2017 15:05


The airplane transporting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had to make a detour Wednesday en route from Singapore to Australia as the Israeli airline is banned from using Indonesia’s airspace.

Reports said the plane had dodged the Indonesian airspace as he arrived in Sydney after an 11-hour flight from Singapore. The normal time for a direct flight between the two locations is eight and a half hours.

Sources in Netanyahu’s delegation, which is in Australia for a four-day visit, a first for an Israeli prime minister in history, confirmed the detour.

Indonesia is the country with the world’s largest population of Muslims and it has no formal ties with the Tel Aviv regime. Like many other Muslim countries, Indonesia has barred Israeli airlines, including EL AL that operated Netanyahu’s flight, from venturing into its airspace.

Of Indonesia’s total population of about 240 million, a majority are Muslims and the country supports the Palestinian cause. Jakarta has rejected repeated Israeli calls for the establishment of diplomatic ties, saying it may do so if Palestine gains its independence from the occupying regime.

“The most important thing is the spirit to realize Palestinian independence,” Indonesia’s Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung said in March last year after Netanyahu called on Indonesia to allow relations to normalize.

Jakarta has only allowed limited travel and trade to occur with the occupied territories. It waived visa sanctions in December 2015 as part of its policies to increase tourism.

Israel continues to defy calls, even from non-Muslim countries, to halt its controversial settlement activities in the Palestinian territories it occupied in the 1967 war. In a rare move, the United Nations Security Council condemned the settlements last year.

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