On Wednesday, the 24-hour suspension of flights to and from Israel was renewed for another 24 hours. The United States Federal Aviation Administration put the suspension in place on Tuesday, due to a “potentially hazardous security situation created by the armed conflict between Israel and Gaza,” after a rocket fired from Gaza hit near Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport.
“The success of Hamas in closing Israeli airspace is a great victory for the resistance, and is the crown of Israel’s failure,” said spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, in a statement released by Hamas.
While Hamas viewed the flight suspension as a “great victory,” United States Senator, Ted Cruz, viewed it as a way for the Obama administration to sabotage Israel’s economy.
“The facts suggest that President Obama has just used a federal regulatory agency to launch an economic boycott on Israel, in order to try to force our ally to comply with his foreign-policy demands,” said Cruz.
Marie Harf, a spokeswoman for the State Department, replied to the statement from Cruz, calling his accusations “ridiculous and offensive.”
“The FAA takes its responsibilities very seriously,” said Harf. “They make these decisions based solely on the safety and security of American citizens, period. For anyone to suggest otherwise is just ridiculous.”
Although the Israeli government asked the White House to overrule the FAA’s decision, their request was declined.
Another United States Politician criticizing the FAA is the former Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg.
“Ben Gurion is the best protected airport in the world. It is safe and secure and flights from all over the world are landing here,” said Bloomberg, who flew into Tel Aviv on an El Al flight on Tuesday night. “It was an overreaction for the FAA to halt U.S. flights here – and a mistake they should correct.”
The FAA released a statement Wednesday afternoon, saying it is “working closely with the government of Israel to review the significant new information they have provided and determine whether potential risks to U.S. civil aviation are mitigated so the agency can resolve concerns as quickly as possible.”