Direct flight from Israel to Algeria sparks Arab outcry

Ynet reporters reveal on Twitter Brazilian jet carrying diplomats made direct stop in the north African state en route from Israel, catalyzing wave of denials and condemnations from online users and officials alike

Itay Blumenthal, Daniel Salami|
A Brazilian Air Force plane carrying a diplomatic delegation has stirred controversy in the Arab world after Ynet reporters revealed on Twitter it had made a stop in an Arab country en route from Israel to the South American country.
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  • The aircraft, carrying dignitaries such as Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo and the son of President Jair Bolsonaro, Eduardo, took off from Ben Gurion Airport last Tuesday after a diplomatic visit, landing directly at an airport in Algeria for a refueling stop.
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    המטוס הברזילאי בנתב"ג
    המטוס הברזילאי בנתב"ג
    A Brazilian jet carrying a diplomatic landed in Ben Gurion Airport last week
    This has sparked anger in the Arab world, with many considering the stop as Algeria recognizing Israel. Both nations do not currently have official ties between them.
    Arab officials denied the reports of the aircraft's flight route and presented evidence they claimed was proof of a "Zionist plot" to defame Algeria, which, unlike its neighbor Morocco, refuses to normalize relations with Israel.
    A source from the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, commonly known as Eurocontrol, confirmed has confirmed to Ynet that the jet had landed in the north African country.
    Aircraft traffic is most often tracked by civilian tracking software, the most popular of which, FlightRadar24, captured the plane taking off from Israel.
    However, due to a lack of receivers operating in ADS-B technology in the region, the plane was only spotted before landing through a technology called TMLT. Planes' approximate location can be traced by measuring time and signal reception by several receivers as they are required to transmit Mode-S signals — which made it possible to locate the plane prior to its landing in Algeria.
    Another tracking software called Adsbexchange, has picked up two signals along the aircraft's route — one nearby Tel Aviv, and another next to the island of Malta, which was the result of a glitch.
    Algerian officials and the Arab world predicated a new narrative on the glitch in which the plane made a stop in Malta and only then arrived in Algeria, so it did not fly directly from Israel to the north African country.
    Arab media covered the report on the first direct flight from Israel to Algeria extensively.
    Qatar-based television personality Faisal Al-Kasim, who is known for hosting the controversial live debate show The Opposite Direction on Al Jazeera shared the report to his more than 5 million Twitter followers.
    BBC Arabic presented the incident in a skeptical manner, without mentioning the Brazilian jet's flight route as picked up by Eurocontrol. At the end of a piece channel ran on the incident, which also featured tweets from Ynet reporters, Algerian government spokesman Ammar Belhimer denied the report, saying that "our country is undergoing an electronic defamation campaign in light of its refusal to normalize relations with Israel."
    The Iranian Arabic-language news network Al-Alam also ran a story on the incident in a skeptical light, later following up with another story presenting a host of tweets from different sources supposedly debunking the original report and dismissing it as fake news.
    Lebanese news channel Al Mayadeen, which is affiliated with the Hezbollah terrorist group, also covered the incident, adding that an official Algerian source from denied any reports of an aircraft from Israel landing in Algeria and said they were "propaganda targeted to influence the Algerian position on the Zionist enemy."
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    הנתיב מישראל לאלג'יריה
    הנתיב מישראל לאלג'יריה
    Tracking data showing Brazilian jet's route from Israel to Algeria
    (Photo: FlightRadar24)
    Following the reports, the hashtag "#Algeria_in_the_Zionists_net" began to circulate on social media.
    "Every Algerian who loves their country must share this hashtag and respond to the Jewish-Moroccan allegations against Algerian foreign policy. Everybody can see that the Brazilian plane did not even pass through Algeria," wrote one user on Twitter.
    Other users considered the alleged landing of the plane in Algeria as a chance to receive some help in the country's COVID-19 response from Israel, which leads the world's fastest vaccination campaign against the disease.
    "Algeria will always be on the side of the Palestinians, but it would not be so bad if Algeria would get a vaccine shipment from the military plane that has arrived from Israel," another user wrote.
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    איתי בלומנטל דניאל סלאמה BBC בערבית מטוס עם בכירים ברזילאים מישראל נחת ב אלג'יריה
    איתי בלומנטל דניאל סלאמה BBC בערבית מטוס עם בכירים ברזילאים מישראל נחת ב אלג'יריה
    BBC Arabic displays photos of Ynet reporters Daniel Salami and Itay Blumenthal after exposing Brazilian jet landing in Algeria from Israel
    A researcher residing in Algeria told Ynet that anger within the country does not stem from anti-Semitism, but criticism against Israeli policies.
    "Our anger is not targeted at the Jews or at the people in Israel, but against the Israeli government that has been long turning its back on Arab peace initiatives and then spinning it as if we're the ones not interested in peace," he said. "That is why we are finding it hard to believe that the plane had landed in Algeria. If you have definitive proof, such as landing documentation or permit, present it."
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