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British-Palestinian Journalist Says Israel Knows “What Happened in Kabul Airport Will Repeat Itself at Ben Gurion Airport”

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported that Atwan said in Arabic during the television appearance: “Israel today is in a state of confusion, in a state of panic.
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August 23, 2021
Lior Mizrahi / Getty Images

Abdel Bari Atwan, a British-Palestinian journalist, told the Lebanese television station Mayadeen TV in an August 19 interview that “what happened in Kabul Airport will repeat itself at Ben Gurion Airport.”

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported that Atwan said in Arabic during the television appearance: “Israel today is in a state of confusion, in a state of panic. They know very well that what happened in Kabul Airport will repeat itself at Ben Gurion Airport. But Ben Gurion Airport will be closed, there will be no planes in it.” He added that Israelis “should listen to the advice of [Hezbollah leader] Hassan Nasrallah and start learning how to swim, because their only option will be Cyprus, their only option will be the Mediterranean Sea.” Ben Gurion Airport, located in Tel Aviv, is Israel’s only airport; Kabul Airport is currently in chaos as people are attempting to flee Afghanistan after the Taliban regained control of the country.

Atwan recalled how in 1995, then-Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat told him during a late-night walk that one day Atwan “will see the Israelis fleeing Palestine, like rats fleeing a sinking ship.” “Today I believe that this prophecy will come true,” Atwan said.

Various Jewish groups and Twitter users condemned Atwan’s remarks.

“That didn’t take long. Genocide-seeking haters of Jewish state inspired by Afghanistan debacle,” the Simon Wiesenthal Center tweeted.

StandWithUs Israel Executive Director Michael Dickson noted in a tweet that the BBC has given Atwan a platform for years as a guest while ignoring “his crazy rants in Arabic. Sorry Abdel, Israel is going nowhere – we’ve been here for thousands of years and we will be here forever more.”

Stop Antisemitism similarly tweeted that “this vile antisemite is a frequent guest on the @BBC.”

U.N. Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer also tweeted that CNN has also had Atwan on as a “regular guest commentator.” “The idea of the Taliban defeating America is exciting Jihadists and antisemites worldwide,” Neuer added.

A request for comment sent to Rai al-Youm, the Arab news outlet where Atwan serves as editor-in-chief, was not returned by publication time.

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