The US FAA has extended the ban on flights into Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport, citing increased risk after a Hamas rocket landed within a mile of the airport. Hamas is calling the ban a “great victory,” while several European countries are following up with flight bans of their own.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is now asking, is the FAA’s decision really based on risk, or is it a stealth economic boycott of Israel?
In a press release, Cruz notes that the FAA still allows flights into Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, all of which are under constant terrorist threat.
Sen. Cruz also notes that so far in the current battle with Hamas, the terrorist group has launched over 2,000 rockets. Only one has landed anywhere near Ben Gurion.
Mindful of the shootdown of MH17 last week, Cruz also notes that that shootdown was accomplished by a sophisticated BUK anti-aircraft missile made by Russia. Yet the FAA still allows flights into Ukraine.
According to Sen. Cruz’s statement, tourism is an $11 billion industry in Israel. Thanks to the FAA’s ban, though, tourist charters are canceling trips at a 30% rate, costing the Israeli economy enormously. At the same time, Secretary of State John Kerry arrive in Israel — at Ben Gurion, incidentally — pledging $47 million in aid for the Palestinians, which really means more money for Hamas.
Taking the impact of these decisions together with Kerry’s previous statements, in which he has accused Israel of being an “apartheid state,” Cruz wonders what is behind the FAA’s decisions — true risk or politics?
Read Sen. Cruz’s full statement on the next page.