As his plane hovered over Israeli airspace, a Royal Jordanian pilot informed passengers of an imminent flyover of “Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine,” according to a YouTube recording that has since gone viral.
The geography lesson — given both in Arabic and English — on flight RJ216 from Amman to New York came the week after US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
After welcoming the passengers on board, pilot Yousef Dajah took the opportunity to express his views on the US president’s decision while sharing the flight’s itinerary.
“Our initial route for today out of Queen Alia [Airport] turns to the territory of Palestine,” Dajah began. “Also northern of Jerusalem — which is the capital city of Palestine — and then [to] west coast of Palestine,” he continued in broken English
In addition to being cheered by passengers on the Boeing 787, the recording was shared widely by Arab social media accounts.
“It made me proud to see that there still are such people with the guts to say something like this,” a fellow crew member on the flight, Jamil Khalsa, told the official Petra News Agency.
However, a spokesman for Royal Jordanian told the Ynet news site that he represents “a commercial company that does not engage in politics.”
In an address last Wednesday from the White House, Trump defied worldwide warnings and insisted that after repeated failures to achieve peace, a new approach was long overdue, describing his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government as merely based on reality.
The move was hailed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by leaders across much of the Israeli political spectrum and angered Palestinian and Arab leaders. Trump stressed that he was not specifying the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in the city, and called for no change in the status quo at the city’s holy sites.