Germany to press Kuwait to let Israelis fly on its national airline
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Deputy FM lambasts 'incomprehensible' situation

Germany to press Kuwait to let Israelis fly on its national airline

Berlin promises diplomatic action after a German court ruled that Kuwait Airways has the right to bar Israelis from its flights

Illustrative: Screen capture from video of a Kuwait Airways airliner taking off. (YouTube/LAXSPOTTER97)
Illustrative: Screen capture from video of a Kuwait Airways airliner taking off. (YouTube/LAXSPOTTER97)

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s foreign ministry said it will press Kuwait about a law that prevented its national airline from transporting an Israeli citizen on a flight originating in Frankfurt.

Deputy foreign minister Michael Roth told Die Welt newspaper Friday that Germany’s ambassador has been asked to raise the issue with Kuwaiti authorities.

The move follows a Frankfurt court ruling Thursday that Kuwait Airways didn’t have to transport the Israeli on a 2016 flight that included a stopover in Kuwait City because it would have faced legal repercussions at home.

In this undated photo, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (with his back to the camera) meeting with German Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth in his office in Tehran. (CC BY-SA 4.0 Tasnim/Wikipedia)

The court noted the airline wasn’t allowed to have contracts with Israelis under Kuwait’s boycott of Israel.

Roth said: “It is incomprehensible to me that in today’s Germany a passenger cannot board a plane simply because of his nationality.”

On Thursday, a German court ruled that the small gulf country’s national airline did not have to transport the Israeli citizen.

The Frankfurt state court noted in its decision that Kuwait Airways is not allowed to have contracts with Israelis under Kuwaiti law because of the Middle Eastern country’s boycott of Israel.

The court said it didn’t evaluate whether “this law make sense,” but that the airline risked repercussions that were “not reasonable” for violating it, such as fines or prison time for employees.

This March 18, 2012 photo shows a view of empty Kuwait Airways check-in counters at Kuwait Airport. (AP Photo/Gustavo Ferrari)

An Israeli citizen, who was identified in court papers as Adar M., a student living in Germany, sued Kuwait Airways after it canceled his booking for a flight from Frankfurt to Bangkok that included a stop-over in Kuwait City.

The cancellation came a few days before M.’s scheduled departure in August 2016 when he revealed he had an Israeli passport. The airline offered to book him on a nonstop flight to Bangkok with another carrier.

The man refused the offer and filed the lawsuit, seeking compensation for alleged discrimination. He also insisted the airline should have to accept him as a passenger.

The court rejected his discrimination claim ruling that German law covers discrimination based on race, ethnicity or religion, but not nationality.

Germany’s Central Council of Jews condemned the ruling, calling it “unbearable that a foreign company operating based on deeply anti-Semitic national laws is allowed to be active in Germany.”

A lawyer for the Israeli passenger called the verdict “deeply shocking.”

“This is an embarrassing ruling for democracy and for Germany,” lawyer Nathan Gelbart said. “It cannot be allowed to stand like this.”

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