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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

July 22, 2014 - 1:20 pm

The State Department denied today that yesterday’s travel warning coupled with today’s FAA decision to keep planes away from Israel is an administration strategy to put economic pressure on the Jewish state.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued a notice at lunchtime today “informing U.S. airlines that they are prohibited from flying to or from Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport for a period of up to 24 hours.

“The notice was issued in response to a rocket strike which landed approximately one mile from Ben Gurion International Airport on the morning of July 22, 2014,” the FAA said in a statement. “The [Notice to Airmen] NOTAM applies only to U.S. operators, and has no authority over foreign airlines operating to or from the airport.”

“The FAA immediately notified U.S. carriers when the agency learned of the rocket strike and informed them that the agency was finalizing a NOTAM. The FAA will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation.  Updated instructions will be provided to U.S. airlines as soon as conditions permit, but no later than  24 hours from the time the NOTAM went into force.”

The notice was issued soon after Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in the region to attempt to broker a ceasefire agreement. He announced a $47 million humanitarian aid package to the Palestinians soon after touching down in Cairo on Monday.

“The Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens consider the deferral of non-essential travel to Israel and the West Bank and reaffirms the longstanding strong warning to U.S. citizens against any travel to the Gaza Strip,” reads the travel warning issued Monday.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters she “would wholly disagree with that argument” that the moves are intended to put pressure on Netanyahu.

“We issue travel warnings because one of our top priorities is protecting U.S. citizens overseas. I would note that in 2012, the department also issued travel warnings for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza in March, August and December. So this is a step we have taken when we felt the situation on the ground warranted it. Obviously, that is a process that we go through that in no way is — is policy-related or politically related. It is just gets to how we can best protect American citizens,” Harf said.

“On the FAA, we to my knowledge were not involved in that decision-making. Obviously, we knew it was coming today. I was actually waiting for the announcement to come out before I came out to brief so I had more information. But the FAA makes these decisions when they feel it’s warranted, again for the safety of United States citizens. And they, in response to the recent attack at Ben Gurion Airport and the vicinity of Ben Gurion Airport, after consultation with U.S. operators, felt today that it was important to issue this notice, which is in effect for up to 24 hours and they will provide additional guidance to the — updated instructions to the aircraft operators no later than 24 hours from when it went into effect.”

Harf said it was “not true” that the White House was out of the loop on the FAA decision while the State Department had the head’s up.

“I was on many e-mail chains this morning about when the statement would actually come out that included my White House colleagues,” she said. “There’s not coordination — the FAA makes decisions on its own from a policy perspective. We all — we knew — you know, I knew a little bit before the briefing, as did the White House, that this was being announced publicly on the communications side. But from a policy perspective, this is a process driven entirely by the FAA.”

She said both the State Department and FAA were “in contact with the Israeli government about this,” but added that she didn’t “have specifics on what that looks like.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.
Top Rated Comments   
Right. And there was no coordination with all the other weaponized agencies and the czars and czarinas that run them.

All coincidence. Anyone who opposes this administration just runs into bad luck. And then evidence is destroyed by accident that would prove that it was bad luck.

And, if you believe that, I have a bridge that we can block to make all these other federal crimes, felonies and treason become non-news.


8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
This airline isolation of Israel makes it imperative that Israel destroy Hamas, so that this can never happen again. Bibi needs to throws this back in the face of those who demand a truce while Hamas lives. Secondly, this should put an end to the so-called two-state solution. Israel must stay in Judea and Samaria to prevent rockets being placed in areas much closer to Ben-Gurion airport. As for talk of demilitarization of Gaza, that is a task best left to Israel and not to the feckless UN or other so-called allies of Israel.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (12)
All Comments   (12)
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Considering the history of the State Department and the perpetual parade of anti-Semites in its ranks since the days of Calvin Coolidge, the burden of proof is to show that they are not involved rather than to demonstrate that they are!
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
FAA cannot stop flights to Israel. It will only change non-stop flights into one stop flights. Meaningless anti-Israel, Muslim pandering by backscratching Ivy Leaguers who have zero common sense. The herding instinct is strong in this bunch of leftist bigots.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
A cowardly Democrat administration run by anti-american, ant-Israel, anti-democracy crowd from Chicago with pretend grown-up Kerry playing a meaningless part.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Does Israel even HAVE another international airport? Such a tiny country can't have a whole lot of airports. If there is another airport, is it out of range of the rockets? I'm guessing it is no more out of range of rockets than Ben Gurion is.

Assuming Ben Gurion is the only major effort, that only makes the urgency of suppressing Hamas in Gaza all the more urgent. I can't imagine too many people wanting to go to Israel will appreciate having to land in Cairo or Beirut and then going to Tel Aviv by bus.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
FOR THE FAA TO STOP AIRLINES FROM FLYING INTO ISRAEL IS TO LET THE TERRORISTS WIN.
This has Obama's hands all over it.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Right. And there was no coordination with all the other weaponized agencies and the czars and czarinas that run them.

All coincidence. Anyone who opposes this administration just runs into bad luck. And then evidence is destroyed by accident that would prove that it was bad luck.

And, if you believe that, I have a bridge that we can block to make all these other federal crimes, felonies and treason become non-news.


8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Lest we forget (like the MSM already has), Hamas admitted to targeting Dimona two weeks ago. The very definition of nuclear terrorism.

http://www.jpost.com/Operation-Protective-Edge/Rocket-alert-sirens-sound-in-Zichron-Yaakov-120-km-north-of-Gaza-362087
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
OK, so we see how a poorly aimed rocket from Gaza - one of the few to get through the Iron Dome - prompted the cancellation of foreign carrier flights into Ben Gurion Airport.

Now imagine that Obama and Kerry get their wish - a Palestinian state whose territorial lines are within sight - and mortar range - of Ben Gurion airport. How long until a few guys decide to send a few well-aimed shots at the airport? Just a few volleys every so often will effectively put the airport out of commission.

Reason enough that Israel needs to maintain control of the high-ground. Indeed, any military man not blinded by the Palestinian narrative or political loyalty would insist that Israel's security envelope must extend to the Jordan River.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah....I have a pretty loud bullish!t meter goin' off...
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
This airline isolation of Israel makes it imperative that Israel destroy Hamas, so that this can never happen again. Bibi needs to throws this back in the face of those who demand a truce while Hamas lives. Secondly, this should put an end to the so-called two-state solution. Israel must stay in Judea and Samaria to prevent rockets being placed in areas much closer to Ben-Gurion airport. As for talk of demilitarization of Gaza, that is a task best left to Israel and not to the feckless UN or other so-called allies of Israel.
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
"demilitarization of Gaza"

Mmm, "demilitarization" of Gaza. "I love the smell of napalm in the morning...." :P
8 weeks ago
8 weeks ago Link To Comment
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