Royal Jordanian, the country’s national carrier, flies a regular route from Tel Aviv to Amman, a particularly popular option for Israelis wishing to connect with RJ flights to the USA and elsewhere.
Which is why it is so disturbing to see these photos taken of the on-board map on a Royal Jordanian flight from New York to Amman in the past week.
In the first image, while the names of neighboring states are clearly visible, Israel has been omitted.
In the second image, many Israeli cities are included, along with “Palestine.” Pointedly, the word “Israel” is missing. Interestingly, the biblical name Judea does appear on the map. While it is impossible to know why, it may signal that whoever is responsible for the mapping differentiates between Jews and the Zionist state that does not appear on the map.
These images were taken from a virtually brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner so there is no way that these maps could be passed off as being out of date. These maps were most likely programmed deliberately before being installed on the aircraft.
Royal Jordanian is a member of the One World airline alliance, whose major members include American Airlines and British Airways.
Since 1994, Jordan has had a peace treaty with Israel. While the peace has been somewhat cool on a people-to-people level, Israel maintains a high degree of quiet co-operation with the Hashemite monarchy and its security services.
Indeed, Israel has always considered Jordan to be a strategic buffer zone on its eastern flank and its stability is of vital strategic importance.
It’s one thing for an airline from an Arab state with no relations with Israel to erase it from the map. Is it too much to expect Israel to appear on the maps of an airline that actually flies to the country from a state that has an embassy on Israeli soil?
And is it acceptable for an airline that partners with major carriers such as AA and BA to behave in this way?
Emails to both Royal Jordanian’s public relations department and the press office of One World have, as yet, gone unanswered so finding out if there is an official policy on this has proven difficult.
In the bigger picture, perhaps what disappoints just as much as Royal Jordanian’s erasure of Israeli sovereignty from the map, is the realization that even after over two decades of peace with Jordan, normalization between the nations from the bottom-up is still a world away.