HuffPost Arabi Falsely Reports That Trump’s Flight Was First From Arab Country to Israel

Since its 2015 launch, HuffPost Arabi has had its share of controversy, including ties with the purportedly pro-Islamist Wadah Khanfar and editors’ refusal to remove a blog post claiming a Jewish woman poisoned Prophet Mohammed with arsenic. So it perhaps should come as no surprise that coverage of Israel in the Huffington Post’s Arabic edition falls short of professional journalistic standards of accuracy.
A HuffPost Arabi news story yesterday about President Trump’s Middle East visit, begins with the laughably false assertion (CAMERA’s translation) that:

For the first time in history, an aircraft coming from an Arab country landed in Israel, where US President Donald Trump’s plane arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv on a direct flight from Saudi Arabia.

While President Trump’s flight was the first known direct flight from Saudi Arabia to Israel, it is not the first direct flight from an Arab country to Israel. Multiple flights every week, virtually every single day, fly from Amman and Cairo to Tel Aviv. Air Sinai flies from Cairo and Royal Jordanian flies from Amman.
Today, for instance, two flights are scheduled to land in Tel Aviv from Amman, and one from Cairo.
As for previous presidential direct flights from other Arab countries to Israel, The Washington Post reports:

Two previous U.S. presidents, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, had flown directly from Syria to Israel, but no sitting U.S. president has made the trip from Saudi Arabia directly before.

American diplomats have also made the Syria-Israel direct trip before. As former State Department official Nicholas Burns recounted to Bloomberg:

During 1995, Burns was on a team led by then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher that was trying to negotiate a peace deal between Israel and Syria.

“In one week we flew every day — it must have been seven or eight days — between Jerusalem and Damascus,” Burns said. The cities are about 135 miles (217 kilometers) apart, roughly the distance from Washington to Philadelphia.

“It took no time to get there. But we were the only ones who could fly that route. No Israeli and no Syrian could fly that route.”

CAMERA calls on Huffington Post and HuffPost Arabi to correct this demonstrably false assertion.
With research by Ahed Al-Hendi

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