American Airlines partner Etihad Airways wiped Israel off its route map.
The UAE airline which American taxpayers put their money on gets $425,000 every year from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on a pre-clearance customs facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport, New York Post reported.
The Arab airline's partnership with its American counterpart allows travellers to get past the long queue at the customs and settle for a fast-track service. This is applicable for all passengers traveling from Abu Dhabi to the U.S.
When one flips through the route map of Etihad Airways, one notices a striking change in the world map they provide. In the travel map, one can see all the countries in and around UAE including Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Cyprus, and Egypt. However, there is no Israel in the map, nor is there any major city from the Jewish nation.
One may also find it interesting to know that Etihad Airways does not allow any Israeli traveller to fly in their airline. Israelis, by the way, are not allowed to enter the UAE. Earlier in 2010, the airline even trained the flight agents to identify travellers from Israel through their traits and accents, according to a report by the BBC.
Etihad Airways, being the only airline to take passengers from Abu Dhabi to the U.S. and back; is heavily backed by the U.S. government on the financial front. Etihad's service includes travelling to major U.S. cities like Washington, Chicago, and New York. One may be curious to find out how an American taxpayer feels to know that their hard earned money is spent from an airline which leaves no holds barred to exhibit discrimination.
Meanwhile, travel expert Justin Ross Lee expressed his displeasure about the entire episode. Mr. Lee, a 30-year-old Jew from Manhattan, said that he would rather donate his travel miles to Hezbollah, the terror group from Lebanon, than flying on Etihad. He wondered if he would be interrogated less for belonging to the militant group than for holding an Israeli passport.
There are 157 countries that hold diplomatic relation with Israel. UAE, however, is not among them.