Doha’s Diplomatic Dance: Qatar Jet Stops In Cyprus To Avoid Flying Non-Stop To Israel

Pollster Frank Luntz took to social media on Friday to decry a Qatar Airways for not recognizing Israel. For someone so politically savvy, that struck me as naive. The obvious answer here was that Qatar doesn’t recognize Israel. It would be more of a scandal for Israel to appear on the moving map of its state-sponsored airline than for it not to.

The U.S. played a major role in the end of the blockade of Qatar by the U.A.E., Saudia Arabia, and others. Qatar has ties to Iran and to Hamas, but also leans heavily towards the West. They’re now a go-between for Israel, the United States, and terror.

It’s a tightrope for them to walk. Qatari leaders flew a Gulfstream G650 from Doha to Tel Aviv, but made an enroute stop in Larnaca, Cyprus to avoid flying non-stop to Israel on Saturday.

The aircraft was a small Gulfstream G650ER owned by Qatar Executive, the luxury private jet charter subsidiary of the Qatar Airways Group. The aircraft has the capacity to carry 13 passengers, along with two pilots and one member of cabin crew.

…the aircraft departed Doha at around 7 am for the three-and-a-half-hour flight to Cyrpus, where it remained on the ground for just over an hour before making the short 40-minute hop to Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport.

The Qataris were in Tel Aviv for less than an hour before the aircraft flew back – again, via Cyprus – to Doha.

Unfortunately, Hamas in Gaza won’t be the end of terror attacks on Israelis or on the Palestinian people.

However, Etihad has said they’ll resume flights to Israel after the cessation of hostilities. That’s not a commercial decision but a foreign policy statement, that despite the best efforts of Hamas, broader regional conciliation is inexorable. While I never considered myself a fan, in retrospect I wonder if Jared Kushner is one of the most underrated figures in recent times, given his role in Operation Warp Speed, criminal justice reform, and the Abraham Accords?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. You had me until Kushner. The guy couldn’t organize getting a bunch of drunken sailors into a bordello.

  2. So they did a took a ridiculous routing but not for a mileage run but rather to score petty political points. With who , Iran? I have visited Qatar and I can tell you the average Qatari could care less what route the plane flies

  3. The sheer number of competing ideologies in the Middle East and the ability of none of them to permanently gain the upper hand is all that will ensure that outside forces – the United States for now – will play a major role in playing one set of ideologies against the other.

    And the “potentially sensitive” video highlights why there is no chance short of divine intervention for regional peace and stability.

  4. We Americans shouldn’t be so quick to condemn others for not recognizing Israel. Look at us. We refuse to recognize Taiwan’s right to exist. We refuse to have an embassy in Taipei. We let United Airlines and other list cities with their country (like Paris, France) but refuse to list it as Taipei, Taiwan or Taipei, ROC Taiwan. In that way, America is only slightly better than Hamas.

  5. Correction: I amend my comments that America is not slightly better than Hamas but moderately better regarding the subject of recognition (and much better regarding terrorist attacks). Still, America is shameful in not recognizing Taiwan’s right to exist but breaking treaty obligations. President Carter broke a mutual defense treaty and other treaties around 1979.

    As far as Qatar, they can make it more inconvenient for themselves by not flying non-stop.

  6. @derek

    Another country the US would not recognize was East Germany till 1974 when it opened an embassy in East Berlin.
    The question is silent today, but was a big issue during the Cold War.

  7. I have reason to think there was another reason or at least a supplemental reason the flight went via Cyprus, but I don’t want to get into that publicly at this sensitive point when we need to get all the hostages out of Gaza and to see the Israeli and Palestinian peoples being able to have the security and liberty that all non-combatant civilians deserve as a natural human right regardless of geographic location.

    Qatar has been recognizing Israeli officials repeatedly for years now. That includes recognizing the diplomatic status of Israeli officials with diplomatic Israeli passports as privileged representatives of a sovereign state — Israel in those situations too — while being hosted by Qatar.

  8. Jared Kushner was one of the better inclined non-careerists in a senior role in the Trump Administration, but Arab monarchies and their local and foreign apologists have long had an inclination for doing favors for Republicans and engaging in actions to benefit Republicans at expense of Democrats. But Kushner was also engaged in what may be viewed as self-dealing corruption.

  9. @derek wrote:

    “Another country the US would not recognize was East Germany till 1974 when it opened an embassy in East Berlin…”

    Conversely, all East German maps that showed Berlin labeled East Berlin as “Berlin – Haupstadt der DDR” (“Berlin – Capital of the GDR “), while the area of West Berlin was shown as totally blank…

    Diplomatically, East Germany was generally not recognized by *any* Western nation until after c. 1970 or so…

  10. I dream of a news site where we can take a break from all this political nonsense and just talk about flying and travel.

  11. SMR, why not go to FlyerTalk?

    GUW, Internet Brands and the Mod corps on FlyerTalk is again defaming you and selling you as a criminal in your homeland and in England. Don’t know where you are but would you file a lawsuit against the concerned persons for defamation? There has been no test of Internet Brands moderator defense policy, but why not file a lawsuit now while the Mos squad tries to sell you as a hacking criminal to justify banning you?

  12. “…given his role in Operation Warp Speed…”

    He actually considers this a success. What a maroon!

  13. Keep in mind that Qatar is a state sponsor and ex-pat home of Hamas and its leadership. Qatar holds the purse strings to the Iranian cash flow into Hamas. Also, keep that in mind the next time you decide to book a flight on Qatar which will help fund terrorism at some level.

  14. That seat-back map BS has me trying to figure out how to avoid Qatar/Doha (which I hate with a passion due to the bus gates). However, Doha is a major gateway to Asia so we have been routing through Doha more often than not. I almost never look at seat-back maps but a few flights ago, I was curious about the route so I took a look and when I saw all of Israel labeled as Palestinian Territories, I was furious and sickened. I did not know (from comment by DaninMCI) that Qatar also plays host to Hamas. I will re-double my efforts to avoid Qatar/Dohas on future trips.

  15. Israel’s omission from QRs in-flight map must be a relatively recent change. I have screen shots from a December 2019 (during the blockade) QR flight from DOH that show “ISRAEL”. One photo (which shows the entire route from DOH to the US) shows “ISRAEL”; “PALESTINE” is not listed. The other photo (which shows a smaller portion of the route) lists both “ISRAEL” and “PALESTINE”.

  16. Frank Luntz has remained active enough in relatively recent years and still shows up on TV and elsewhere in the political ring at times during election season, but he has seemed largely dejected for some years now.

  17. I think the linked article is completely wrong. It claims the routing was to avoid the first nonstop doh-tlv flight, but these flights were available during the world cup

  18. Michael,

    That is right but here is some insight into the World Cup flights between TLV and DOH:

    But the article is wrong in part. Already before 2022 Israel had been sending senior Israeli government figures to Qatar for meetings. During the Trump Admin, there was also at least one meeting on behalf of Netanyahu where Netanyahu’s team was asking Qatar to restart funding of Hamas after Qatar had decided to cut all of its funding of Hamas.

  19. Next time you fly to Israel you are rewarding an ongoing genocide. Hamas are lightweights compared to Israel’s f16s, tanks and missiles. Get real.

  20. You wrote: “Unfortunately, Hamas in Gaza won’t be the end of terror attacks on Israelis or on the Palestinian people.”

    Fact: israel is the entity that is enforcing terrorist attacks and genocide onto Palestine and its people.

    Stay away from publishing your based POV otherwise soon you’ll find me and many others unfollowing your blog.

  21. @H.T – Bye.

    What you describe as fact is fiction, and I won’t cater to it for page views.

    Though one mistake you make is actually correct in describing my POV as “based.” 🙂

  22. The Qataris have no clue on how Hamas will be wrapped up. No responsible actor knows how to get it done responsibly.

    Unfortunately, Hamas is probably more popular in the West Bank now than it was a week ago or perhaps even ever before. Not the kind of outcome that works for a long-term, sustainable peace that provides Israelis with the necessary security from existential threats over the long term and delivers on the legitimate national aspirations of Palestinians with a sovereign state of their own with Gaza and the West Bank that lives in peace with Israel and the 67 borders.

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