Hamas may have scored its most (in)direct hits on Israel so far, though they would have been much more insignificant if not for how the Obama administration reacted to them. After the terrorist organization’s rockets landed near Israel’s Ben Gurion airport, the FAA put a ban on flights traveling into Israel.
Secretary of State John Kerry’s flight into Ben Gurion during the travel ban could demonstrate just how unwarranted the ban was.
The United States on Wednesday put the most direct pressure yet on its ally Israel to cut short its military campaign against Hamas in Gaza, but Secretary of State John F. Kerry did not get a deal from Israel or the Palestinians to stop the bloodshed.
Despite a swirl of shuttle diplomacy, the war looked far from over Wednesday. Israeli leaders told their soldiers to prepare for an escalation inside the Gaza Strip, while the leader of Hamas vowed that his Islamist militant movement would not sign a permanent cease-fire until Israel ends its blockade of the coastal enclave.
Ordinary Israelis were upset with the United States and accused the Americans of cowardice after the Federal Aviation Administration, nervous that Hamas rockets have landed near Israel’s main airport, extended a ban on U.S. commercial flights to Tel Aviv. The decision was bad news for a small, image-conscious country such as Israel whose economy relies on international trade and tourism.
The FAA lifted the ban at 11:45 p.m. EDT on Wednesday.
Kerry met in Israel with on Wednesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was angry about the FAA action and suspicious that it was an attempt by the Obama administration to squeeze Israel to end its Gaza campaign.
Again, if there were a real threat to the safety of aircraft flying into Ben Gurion, would the U.S. send its Secretary of State to that airport? In fact, doing so is the kind of thing heads of state do to demonstrate just how safe an airport is.
The ban also sends a clear message to Hamas; keep firing more rockets toward Israel’s airport.