Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Israel/Gaza: Is There a Reason Other Than Aviation Behind Washington's Banning Flights to Israel?

According to Reuters, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday (July 22) to help restore US commercial flights to Israel that had been canceled over the Gaza fighting, an Israeli official said. 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a 24-hour prohibition on flights by US carriers to Israel earlier in the day after a Palestinian rocket struck near Ben-Gurion International Airport outside Tel Aviv.

An Israeli official said that PM Netanyahu, speaking to Kerry while the top US diplomat was in Egypt trying to broker a Gaza truce, "asked him to to work for the resumption of flights by US airlines to and from Israel." 

COMMENT: Confirming the conversation, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the FAA notice was motivated exclusively by security concerns and was being continually reviewed. 

According to THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS countless international airlines have cancelled flights to and from Ben Gurion: 

http://aviationblog.dallasnews.com/2014/07/three-u-s-carriers-cancel-flights-to-tel-aviv 

Asked whether Netanyahu had asked the FAA to rescind the order, a senior Obama Administration official said he was not aware of the request, but added: "We're not going to overrule the FAA, period."

"If the FAA says this crosses our tripwires, we're not going to say 'Don't warn civil aviation." We understand Israeli concerns. They don't want to have a shutdown of air traffic into Ben Gurion. 

"We can look at this every 24 hours, but (when) a rocket lands a mile from that airport, that kind of trips their wire."