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Air France Sued for Refusing to Fly Pro-Palestinian Protester

By: JTA

A French pro-Palestinian activist sued Air France for discrimination for not allowing her to fly to Israel in order to visit the Palestinian Authority.

An attorney for Air France is scheduled to appear in court in the Paris suburb of Bobigny on Jan. 17 to respond to the lawsuit of Horia Ankour, 30, according to a report in the daily L’Indépendant.

In the lawsuit, Ankour says she was taken off a flight from Nice to Tel Aviv on April 15 as she tried to participate in the so-called “flytilla” — an attempt by pro-Palestinian activists from abroad to stage anti-Israel protests at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport. Her ultimate destination was Bethlehem.

A hostess asked Ankour whether she was Israeli or Jewish, according to the activist. Ankour responded she was neither and then was escorted from the plane.

Ankour said 29 activists were on the plane and 21 of them were detained at the airport “at the request of the Israeli authorities,” she is quoted as saying. The rest were arrested in Israel and deported a few days later.

A spokesperson for Air France said the company was acting in compliance with the Convention on International Civil Aviation, also known as the Chicago Convention, which requires airlines to refuse to fly passengers who are “declared inadmissible in the country of destination.”

In total, Israeli authorities detained and deported 78 activists who participated in the flytilla, a reference to the flotillas of activists who sailed to Gaza in defiance of Israel’s naval blockade on the coastal strip.

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