New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg responded to the Obama administration’s ban on US airline flights to Israel by boarding an Israeli El Al airline flight to Tel Aviv. Bloomberg says US should allow flights to Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport.
Safety concerns, or a political move?
The US FAA banned US airlines from flying to Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport just outside Tel Aviv, after a Hamas rocket landed six miles away. The effect is economic sanctions on Israel. USA Today columnist Clifford May calls it handing a big win to Hamas, saying Israel has protected its citizens and, most pointedly, airline traffic:
Which raises the question: Why did the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Tuesday decide to ban flights to Israel for at least 24 hours? Was this really a safety issue based on the landing of a rocket about a mile from the airport and, coincidentally, the shooting down of a passenger plane over Ukraine?
Or was the FAA acting politically, attempting to put additional pressure on Israel as its troops go about the hard, bloody work of eliminating Hamas missiles and the “attack tunnels” Hamas has built to infiltrate terrorists from Gaza into Israel?
What we do know is that the FAA has handed a victory to Hamas — an organization designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist entity, one committed, in its very charter, to the “obliteration” of Israel, to killing Jews, and to waging “jihad.”
Bloomberg issued the following statement Tuesday:
This evening I will be flying on El Al to Tel Aviv to show solidarity with the Israeli people and to demonstrate that it is safe to fly in and out of Israel. Ben Gurion is the best protected airport in the world and El Al flights have been regularly flying in and out of it safely. The flight restrictions are a mistake that hand Hamas an undeserved victory and should be lifted immediately. I strongly urge the FAA to reverse course and permit US airlines to fly to Israel.
“Well sure I’ll take the flight,” Bloomberg answered a reporter before boarding,. “It’s safe, and it’s efficient, and it’s a great way to travel. El Al’s a great airline. We have a lot of American airlines that are great, too. I just want them all to be able to fly around the world and land safely and in peace.”
A reporter asks what Bloomberg is “trying to prove” by flying to Israel via El Al.
“I’m not trying to ‘prove’ anything,” answered the billionaire, “I’m just trying to show that it’s safe, and it’s a great place to visit, and that Israel has a right to defend its people, and is doing exactly what it should be doing.”