FAA orders 24-hour moratorium on US to Tel Aviv over missile worries

posted at 3:21 pm on July 22, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Originally, this started as voluntary actions by Delta and US Air to suspend their operations at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. A Hamas missile landed within a mile of Israel’s main airport — one I’ve traveled through three times — emphasizing the expansion of range in Hamas’ artillery from Gaza. At first, the FAA stayed silent on the change:

It didn’t take long for the situation to change, though:

The Federal Aviation Administration is telling U.S. airlines they are prohibited from flying to the Tel Aviv airport in Israel after a Hamas rocket exploded nearby.

The FAA said in a statement that the ban on flights is for 24 hours beginning at 12:15 p.m. EST on Tuesday.

The notice to airmen was issued “in response to a rocket strike which landed approximately one mile from Ben Gurion International Airport,” the FAA said in a statement.

It’s not just the Americans, either:

Israel’s Transportation Ministry called on the FAA and other carriers to change their minds:

Israel’s Transportation Ministry called on the airlines to reverse their decision and said it was trying to explain that the airport was “safe for landings and departures.”

“Ben-Gurion Airport is safe and completely guarded and there is no reason whatsoever that American companies would stop their flights and hand terror a prize,” it said in a statement.

The FAA had warned American carriers not to fly over eastern Ukraine several weeks ago, a warning whose wisdom was made all too apparent last week. This isn’t the same issue, though. If Hamas had surface-to-air missiles that could hit airplanes in flight, they’d already have targeted El Al flights coming in and out of Tel Aviv. The ban in this case is more about the unfortunate circumstance of operating in a war zone when one side launches attacks indiscriminately targeting civilians, as opposed to the IDF, which is trying to target Hamas while it hides among civilians.

The time frame of 24 hours is rather interesting, too. Perhaps the FAA expects the war to be over by that time, in which case they’re among the most optimistic of all observers. The Israelis will want to make some adjustments or expansion to their Iron Dome defense system in and around Tel Aviv to restore confidence in flight security, and surely the FAA is in communication with Israel about those improvements and the time frame in which they can judge their effect.

That’s just the FAA, though. Even if they give the green light for a resumption of flights for US carriers, that doesn’t mean that the carriers themselves will jump immediately back into business at Ben Gurion.

One other interesting development took place in Egypt, where John Kerry met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and President al-Sisi to push a cease-fire agreement. According to CBS News (same link as above), Ban then went to Israel, but apparently Kerry did not:

Egypt, Israel and the U.S. back an unconditional cease-fire, to be followed by talks on a possible new border arrangement for Gaza. Israel and Egypt have severely restricted movement in and out of Gaza since Hamas seized the territory in 2007.

In Cairo, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Egyptian officials Tuesday in the highest-level push yet to end the deadly conflict. Ban then traveled to Israel.

Earlier, former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren told an interviewer on Israeli television that the Netanyahu government had “not invited” Kerry to engage on a cease fire. For the moment, at least, he’s not looking to raise his profile in Jerusalem.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Via Insty going to WaPo article:

Here’s a transcript of Netanyahu’s remarks yesterday: “As I’ve said many times, the United States has a right to defend itself against terrorist attacks from Al Qaeda. And as a result of its war in Afghanistan, and drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, the United States has already done significant damage to Al Qaeda’s infrastructure. I’ve also said, however, that we have serious concerns about the rising number civilian deaths from drone strikes and the potential loss of American lives from terrorism. And that is why it now has to be our focus and the focus of the international community to bring about a cease-fire that ends the fighting and that can stop the deaths of innocent civilians.”

Now he is just toying with Obama.

Why should Putin have all the fun?

ajacksonian on July 22, 2014 at 8:13 PM

I love the Israelis. They have what America lost.

ConstantineXI on July 22, 2014 at 3:31 PM

Blood lust?

Hatred of other races?

A willingness to bully anyone weaker?

Tlaloc on July 22, 2014 at 9:01 PM

I await the cognitive dissonance of those telling Israel to not defend their citizens from Hamas’s rockets, but for the airlines to defend their airplanes from them.

RSbrewer on July 22, 2014 at 3:34 PM

When the airlines begin indiscriminately shelling Israeli civilians you’ll have a point.

Tlaloc on July 22, 2014 at 9:02 PM

When the airlines begin indiscriminately shelling Israeli civilians you’ll have a point.

Tlaloc on July 22, 2014 at 9:02 PM

So how would you solve the problems in the Middle East

(Del, I’m going to need to borrow a few more sundials.)

Alien on July 22, 2014 at 9:53 PM

Post-MH17 fallout, or general war worries?

Neither. Just another way to support Hamas and punish Israel.

bluefox on July 22, 2014 at 10:13 PM

Blood lust?

Hatred of other races?

A willingness to bully anyone weaker?

Tlaloc on July 22, 2014 at 9:01 PM

You’ve obviously never had the privilege of smelling the burnt flesh of Jews at Auschwitz coming from the crematoriums or you wouldn’t make such inane and sophomoric utterances. God said He would bless those who blessed Israel and curse those who came against her. Guess we know where you stand.

wepeople on July 22, 2014 at 11:02 PM

Serious question to you, what more would you suggest the PM do?

JusDreamin on July 22, 2014 at 4:21 PM

What this man say

Shy Guy on July 22, 2014 at 11:28 PM

Shy Guy on July 22, 2014 at 11:28 PM

What you say.

BabyGrace on July 23, 2014 at 1:19 AM

Blood lust?

Hatred of other races?

A willingness to bully anyone weaker?

Tlaloc on July 22, 2014 at 9:01 PM

Yep, they have Muslims coming out their ears.

LawfulGood on July 23, 2014 at 3:05 AM

Still no ban on flights to Amman?

What about Moscow?

Terp Mole on July 23, 2014 at 6:02 AM

As usual Hamas shows the disgusting cowardice of vile, deceitful Islam exposed by http://www.thereligionofpeace.com. The cold hard facts are that “moderate” Islam” is heretical vs true Islam, rejecting the jihad that Mohammad demanded from his followers in the Koran, no matter the lies of modernist revisionists vainly trying to sanitize the obscenities, like Mormons do with vile pervert molester Joseph Smith and his writings & successors, one of whose deranged followers ran for the presidency in 2012, Americans being largely as ignorant and bigoted about the true Christian faith as about vile Muslim and Mormon cults and their coverups trying to overthrow the true Christian faith. Soli Deo gloria!

russedav on July 23, 2014 at 2:27 PM

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