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Israeli Airline El Al Suspends South Africa Flights

The esteemed Israeli flag carrier, El Al, has announced the suspension of its 74-year-long direct flights between Tel Aviv and Johannesburg. The last operations on the Tel Aviv-Johannesburg route would be by the end of March. The last flight is scheduled for March 15.

According to an El Al spokesperson, the reason for this termination is that “Israelis don’t want to fly to South Africa”.

“They are canceling flights and planes are pretty empty… We understand it’s the situation because it was different before. The fact that the Israelis don’t want to go to South Africa but do want to go to other places helps us decide that we’re pausing that route”, he stated.

This development, which was announced on Friday, came as a response to South Africa’s move to hold Israel accountable for alleged genocidal acts in Gaza. The announcement came mere hours before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in a case brought by South Africa against Israel.

South Africa had accused Israel of committing genocidal acts in Gaza, leading to the tragic deaths of over 26,000 people, primarily women and children. This case prompted the ICJ to rule that Israel must take reasonable measures to prevent genocide in its operations in Gaza. The ruling was unexpected for Israel, which had anticipated the dismissal of the case. Reacting strongly, its foreign ministry accused South Africa of being the “legal arm” of Hamas.

The ICJ’s acceptance of the legal grounds for the genocide charge adds strain to Israel-South Africa relations. The recent discontinuation of a route operational for 74 years is evidence of that.

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