Israeli airline El Al suspends South Africa flights after ICJ Gaza genocide case

Israeli airline El Al suspends South Africa flights after ICJ Gaza genocide case
With South Africa attempting to hold Israel to account for its actions against Gaza at the ICJ, Israel's flag carrier has halted flights to Johannesburg.
2 min read
26 January, 2024
El Al's decision to scrap flights to Johannesburg has come as Israel has been told to cease genocidal activities by the ICJ [Getty]

El Al Israel Airlines announced on Friday that it will halt flights to Johannesburg by the end of March, citing a significant decrease in demand following South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Israel’s flag carrier airline flies up to twice weekly to Johannesburg.

"Israelis don't want to fly to South Africa," said an El Al spokesperson.

"They are cancelling 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."

The company also cited the current security situation for the decision.

The final flight of El Al from Tel Aviv to Johannesburg is set to depart on 27 March, according to the airline’s website.

The announcement came mere hours before the ICJ ruled in a case brought by South Africa that Israel must take reasonable measures to prevent genocide in its deadly attack on the Gaza Strip.

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South Africa filed a case against Israel on 29 December, accusing Israel of committing genocidal acts in the Palestinian enclave where its ground and air assault has killed over 26,000 people, the vast majority of them women and children.

South Africa says that Israel is "engaging in and risks engaging further in genocidal acts” against Palestinians in Gaza, calling for an immediate ceasefire".

This enraged the Israeli government, with its foreign ministry accusing South Africa of being the "legal arm" of Hamas.

Israel had asked and seemingly expected the court to throw the case out.

Today’s ruling will likely add further strain to Israel-South Africa relations as the ICJ accepts there are legitimate legal grounds for the genocide charge to be heard in full.