UAE private jet repatriates 26 Israelis stranded in Morocco

A private jet belonging to an Emirati royal has brought a group of Israeli nationals who were stranded in Morocco for over two months home.

Moroccan diplomacy helped facilitate the flight which landed in Tel Aviv last week.

The 26 Israelis, who were part of an original group of 36, returned to Israel after a “philanthropic” operation flew them back from the French capital Paris, having flown there the day before from Casablanca’s Mohammed V Airport. The remaining ten are believed to have died as a result of coronavirus.

According to the Jerusalem Post, the repatriation operation was a result of secretive negotiations between the Israeli and Moroccan governments over a month. Morocco’s prohibition of direct flights between the countries are said to have stalled the talks.

A previous failed attempt occurred in April reported Morocco World News after the UAE and Israel scheduled a joint flight of stranded Israeli and Emirati tourists but failed to disclose all the flight’s details to Moroccan authorities.

The New Arab revealed yesterday that the VIP plane involved in the operation belonged to a member of the Emirati royal family. Reporting that a video of the repatriation has circulated on social media showing the Israelis on-board “a lavish jet complete with pristine white leather sofas, a private meeting room, and even a gold enamel sink”.

The claim, originally made by Israel’s Channel 12 contradicts earlier reports that the Israelis were repatriated by an American-Israeli philanthropist couple. The allegations would be further evidence of normalisation between Israel and Gulf states.

Last year it was reported that Emirati and Israeli officials travelled together on a direct flight from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv in a private jet which flew through Saudi airspace without the customary stopover in Jordan.

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