The flight eventually took off again for Singapore without further incidents.
An Emirates flight from Dubai to Singapore carrying 12 Israeli passengers was forced to land in Malaysia due to bad weather on Wednesday morning.
Malaysia and Israel do not have diplomatic ties, making this incident a big deal.
The passengers were not allowed to deplane and had to wait on the runway for five hours before taking off again for Singapore.
Emirates flight 354 destined for Singapore from Dubai with 12 Israeli citizens on board made an unplanned landing in Malaysia on Wednesday morning, according to Israel's Foreign Affairs Ministry.— The Jerusalem Post (@Jerusalem_Post) September 6, 2023
The Israeli Foreign Ministry worked with Emirates to ensure the welfare of the passengers and stayed in contact with one of them throughout the ordeal.
This is not the first time that an incident like this has occurred.
Last month, a plane full of Israeli passengers landed unscheduled in Saudi Arabia due to a technical issue.
A reflection of the ongoing tensions in the Middle East
The relationship between Malaysia and Israel is strained due to several political and historical factors.
Malaysia’s official stance towards Israel is outwardly hostile and has recognized the State of Palestine instead.
This has led to various incidents where Israeli citizens have been denied entry into Malaysia or subjected to harassment and discrimination.
I was physically assaulted and spat on in Malaysia for attempting to enter the land border with an Israeli Passport when I was 21 (I wasn't aware of them boycotting Israel), I assumed they were like Asian Muslims who don't care— Timor Aklin تيمور اليهودي | صهيوني ديني (@Timoraklin) August 28, 2023
Similarly, Malaysian citizens are prohibited from visiting Israel or having official dealings with the country, although Malaysians have visited Israel as tourists.
Therefore, the emergency landing of the Emirates flight with Israeli passengers on board in Malaysia is noteworthy because it highlights the ongoing tensions between the two nations.
However, commercial relations between the two countries exist, and Malaysia and Israel have been trading indirectly.
One of the main reasons for the strained relationship is the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Malaysia has been a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause and has criticized Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians.
In addition, Malaysia has a sizeable Muslim population, and many Malaysians view Israel as an oppressor of Muslims.
This sentiment has manifested in various forms, such as boycotts of Israeli products and protests against Israeli actions in Palestine.
BDSMalaysia menyerahkan petisyen kpd Puma, jgn sokong & bersekutu dgn pasukan2 bolasepak rejimApartheid Zionis Israel. #BDS Malaysia handing a petition #BoycottPuma, @ MidValleMall, for Puma to end sponsorship of the football teams of the Israeli Apartheid Zionist regime @PACBI pic.twitter.com/sUmL3SXPM7— BDS Malaysia (@BdsMalaysia) July 5, 2022
Isareal’s Mossad agents have been suspected of conducting covert operations in Malaysia, including an alleged abduction of a Gazan man in Kuala Lumpur in September 2022.
In April 2018, Fadi Mohammed al-Batsh, a lecturer engineer and a member of Hamas, was fatally shot by two individuals on a motorcycle in the Danau Kota area of Setapak.
The Mossad was allegedly responsible for commissioning the assassination.