The Saudi state TV channel has sparked outrage by suggesting that a Qatari passenger jet can be shot down by a missile under international law.
In a short animated video, published on Al Arabiya TV, a commercial Qatari airline passenger jet is shown entering Saudi airspace. A voiceover describes the scenario and explains the different options Saudi officials have in forcing the plane to leave Saudi airspace.
According to international law, a state that bans flights from entering its airspace has the right to deal with the violating plane in any way it wishes.
When a banned airline enters the airspace the options include "deploying a fighter jet that forces the plane to land whereby the flight crew are then tried on several charges" the video explains.
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) August 14, 2017
While this consideration alone by Saudi Arabia, which is leading a boycott of Qatar, is enough to provoke outrage, the producers then claim that "international law also allows states to shoot down any flight that violates a state's airspace, classing it as a legitimate target. The video shows graphics of a missile fired by a Saudi fighter jet shooting down a passenger airline. On Twitter the video was uploaded with the text: "Understanding why the ban on #QatarAirways exists".
Many took to Twitter to express their outrage, some pointing to the irony of shooting down a passenger airline by a country accusing others of supporting terrorism. One of the reasons given by Saudi for its blockade is Qatar's alleged support of terrorist groups.
positive a terrorist thinking by a terrorist country!?
— shaikh hanifa (@shaikh_hanifa) August 16, 2017
Bombing a civilian airplane !!!! What is this called ? Spreading terrorist thinking or not ???
— Ibtesam Al Emadi (@ialimadi) August 14, 2017