Saudis deny plane landed at Ben Gurion

Talkbacks to the al-Jazeeranet article mocked the Saudis: "I expect a Tel Aviv-Mecca line soon," said one.

An El Al Boeing 777 aircraft at Ben-Gurion International Airport (photo credit: REUTERS)
An El Al Boeing 777 aircraft at Ben-Gurion International Airport
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Saudi Arabian Airlines has denied the authenticity of a picture circulating on social media of one of its planes parked at Ben-Gurion Airport.
The website of Qatar’s Al Jazeera television gave prominent coverage on Monday to the denial, in an apparent bid to embarrass Saudi Arabia, which is embroiled in a confrontation with Qatar over what Riyadh says is Doha’s support for terrorism.
It published a picture of a Saudi plane near a control tower labeled Ben-Gurion and alongside it the original picture of an El Al plane that had been doctored.
The official spokesman of Saudi Arabian Airlines was quoted as saying there are “parties and knowledgeable elements publishing lies and spreading rumors and inflating facts with the intent of harming Saudi Arabian Airlines as a national Saudi symbol.” It added that some well-intentioned people were being duped into retweeting the picture without checking its authenticity.
Publication of the picture came a week after The Times reported that Israel and Saudi Arabia may be on the way to establishing economic connections as a prelude to normalization of relations.
The paper cited American and Arab sources as saying the ties would begin with Israeli businesses opening in Saudi Arabia and El Al gaining permission to fly through Saudi airspace.
Prospects for Israeli-Saudi contacts increased last week when King Salman’s son Muhammad was named crown prince. He has in common with Israeli leaders a sharp enmity toward Iran.