A rocket fired from Gaza on July 22 fell in close proximity of the airport, leading airlines to halt flights to Israel, as the UN chief urged an end to a conflict that has killed more than 630 Palestinians. (Photo: MEMO)
A rocket fired from Gaza on July 22 fell in close proximity of the airport, leading airlines to halt flights to Israel, as the UN chief urged an end to a conflict that has killed more than 630 Palestinians. (Photo: Middle East Monitor-MEMO)

Washington, 26 Ramadan 1435/24 July 2014 (MINA) – Several Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, contacted American officials yesterday evening to ask for the resumption of US flights from and to Israel, Israeli media and Reuters said.

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said in a statement: “There is no need for US carriers to suspend flights and reward Hamas fighters,” Middle East Monitor (MEMO) quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting Thursday.

Netanyahu phoned US Secretary of State John Kerry discussing a notice issued by the Federation of American Airlines (FAA) ordering the suspension of flights for at least 24 hours.

Kerry’s spokeswomen Jen Psaki said in a statement: “The only consideration in issuing the notice was the safety and security of our citizens.”

“The FAA continues to monitor and evaluate the situation, and will issue updated guidelines no later than 24 hours from the time the notice went into force,” Reuters reported.

A senior official in the US Administration was quoted by Reuters saying: “We are not going to overrule the FAA, period.”

The official added: “We understand Israeli concerns. They do not want to have a shutdown of air traffic into Ben Gurion. We can look at this every 24 hours.” The official noted that the warning came after a rocket landed one mile from Ben Gurion Airport.


Several European airlines also suspended flights from and to Israel because of safety reasons, they include Air France, KLM and Lufthansa.

US Senator Ted Cruz says Obama using FAA in ‘economic boycott of Israel’

Meanwhile Press TV reported from Washington, an influential US senator says President Barack Obama is using the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to implement an “economic boycott of Israel.”

On Tuesday afternoon, the FAA banned all American planes from flying to Israel after a rocket struck near Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. On Wednesday, the agency extended the flight ban for another day, citing the ongoing “potentially hazardous security situation created by the armed conflict between Israel and Gaza.”

In response, Ted Cruz, the Republican senator from Texas, accused the Obama administration of attempting to sabotage Israel’s economy by barring flights to Tel Aviv.

“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,” Cruz said.

Meanwhile, the Israeli lobby in the United States demanded an immediate review of the FAA policy, which it said was “isolating” Israel.


“We understand the need and the responsibility to protect the safety of airline travelers, but we are concerned by the FAA decision to ban all commercial flights by US airliners to Ben Gurion Airport in Israel,” the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said in a statement issued late on Wednesday.

“Safety is an important consideration, but this decision appears overly harsh and excessive. Moreover, we are concerned that it could have the unintended effect of encouraging terrorists to become even more committed to make civil aviation a target,” the AIPAC statement said.

More than 700 Palestinians have been killed and thousands wounded, including women and children, by Israel’s unending offensive against Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, has been launching retaliatory attacks against Israel.

Israeli warplanes have been carrying out incessant airstrikes against Gaza since July 8. Last Thursday, thousands of Israeli soldiers launched a ground invasion into the densely-populated strip.

Israeli supporters in the US have said that the growing international campaign to boycott Israel over its atrocities against the people of Palestine is one of Tel Aviv’s greatest challenges.

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Earlier this year, Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, called on Western governments to work against the phenomenon.

Israel has faced the widening boycott campaign by some European businesses over its illegal settlement activities on the occupied Palestinian land.

Two of Europe’s biggest financial institutions have boycotted transactions with Israeli companies involved in the settlement construction.

The European Union has also blocked all grants and funding to any Israeli entity based in the illegal settlements.

The American Studies Association has also announced a decision to boycott Israeli institutions and academics over the discriminatory treatment of Palestinians.

Israelis are frustrated in the face of the growing boycott campaign. Israeli officials have held several meetings in an attempt to find a strategy to counter the boycotts.

In an interview with Press TV in August last year, Iranian political analyst Hamid Golpira said that there should be an international campaign “to show that Israel is an apartheid regime, just like South Africa was an apartheid regime. And there should be a worldwide campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against the apartheid regime of Israel, just as there was a campaign against apartheid South Africa.” (T/E01/IR)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)


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