The actions by the FAA to ban flights to Israel have been hotly contested as a concession to the Hamas terrorists. Just before midnight Eastern Time on Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration announced that it has lifted the ban on flights to Israel.
Earlier on Wednesday, The Inquisitr reports that FAA extended the flight ban for another 24 hours, provoking cries of "foul" in Israel and in the United States. That decision came under heavy criticism from leaders as diverse as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Republican Senator Ted Cruz, as well as from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israelis. The decision has now been reversed.
According to USA Today, the announcement came at 11:45 pm ET, lifting the ban on flights to Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, the only international airport for flights in and out of Israel.
The ban was put in place ostensibly for safety reasons after a Hamas rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed within a mile of the Israeli airport on Tuesday.
The text of the announcement, according to Business Insider, reads:
"The FAA has lifted its restrictions on U.S. airline flights into and out of Israel's Ben Gurion Airport by cancelling a Notice to Airmen it renewed earlier today. The cancellation is effective at approximately 11:45 p.m. EDT."While this is certainly a welcome development for the nation of Israel, the motives behind the FAA ban have come under heavy fire in recent days.
""Before making this decision, the FAA worked with its U.S. government counterparts to assess the security situation in Israel and carefully reviewed both significant new information and measures the Government of Israel is taking to mitigate potential risks to civil aviation."
"The FAA's primary mission and interest are the protection of people traveling on U.S. airlines. The agency will continue to closely monitor the very fluid situation around Ben Gurion Airport and will take additional actions, as necessary."
"The FAA initially instituted the flight prohibition on Tuesday, July 22, in response to a rocket strike that landed approximately one mile from the airport."
Michael Bloomberg issued a statement on Tuesday condemning the move against Israel, reports The Blaze, just before he boarded an El Al flight to Israel in protest:
"The flight restrictions are a mistake that hands Hamas an undeserved victory and should be lifted immediately."Republican Senator Ted Cruz had harsh words for the Obama Administration, according to Newsmax, accusing the President of waging an "economic boycott" of Israel via the FAA ban on flights there.
"The only thing 'offensive' about this situation is how the Obama administration is spurning our allies to embolden our enemies; the only thing 'ridiculous' is the administration's response to basic questions."Indeed, Israelis have been outraged and offended at the ban, reports Breitbart, a ban which served to isolate them and strike a devastating blow to the Israeli economy and tourism trade.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following statement:
"There is no reason whatsoever for the mistaken FAA decision.... This decision only rewards the Hamas terrorists for nothing."He then welcomed Michael Bloomberg to the Ben-Gurion Airport, proclaiming the safety of the Airport:
"You can fly in and out of Israel."
Michael Bloomberg told Netanyahu:
"I would argue that Ben-Gurion Airport is probably the safest airport in the whole world to fly in and out of."He acknowledged that Israel has been threatened ever since its reinstatement as a nation in 1948, and said, "Israelis know what it is to keep people safe."
Meanwhile, the Israel Matzav asks the question that still needs to be asked, even though the FAA ban of flights to Israel has been lifted:
"The Obama administration has already been caught using one government agency - the IRS - to advance its political agenda. Could it now be using another, namely the FAA?"[images via WallBerry and TOTPI]