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Israelis force Palestinians off plane in Greece

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file photo shows an Aegean Airlines plane in the apron of an airport in Athens.

Israeli passengers aboard a Greek plane have forced two Palestinians to leave the flight after demanding further security checks on them.

Aegean Airlines said in a statement on Tuesday that the incident occurred on a flight that was leaving the Athens International Airport for Tel Aviv on Sunday.

According to the airlines, a group of Israelis on the flight “very vocally and persistently” requested a security check on the two Palestinian passengers. When police checked the passengers’ passports and found nothing suspicious, Israelis then demanded a further check of the cabin.

“It started with 3-4 people, and by the end, there were 60-70 people standing up, demanding that the pair disembark,” a company spokesperson said, adding, “The pilot said anyone who does not feel safe to fly should disembark, and would not be compensated.”

The Palestinian passengers, however, left the plane themselves. They were compensated for the incident and took another flight to Tel Aviv on Monday.

Palestinian officials on Wednesday demanded that the Greek government act over the incident, saying the decision to remove the Palestinian passengers was “racist.”

“We are outraged by how two Palestinians were treated with discrimination and prejudice at the hands of the Aegean cabin crew prior to the departure of last Sunday’s flight,” said senior Palestinian official, Saeb Erekat, who added, “We call upon the Greek government to take strong action against this racist act, including compensation for the two Palestinian passengers.”

The incident occurred amid a wave of violence against the Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian territories, where at least 144 Palestinians have been killed since the violence erupted in various towns of West Bank and Gaza. Some 25 Israelis have also died during the same period.

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