FAA Backtracks On Israel Flight Ban
The Jerusalem Post is reporting the FAA has reversed its earlier decision to extended the ban on U.S. flights to Israel and is now allowing U.S. carriers to fly there. The newspaper quoted the agency as saying the decision was made after "working with its U.S. government counterparts to assess the security situation in Israel and carefully reviewing both significant new information and measures the Government of Israel is taking to mitigate potential risks to civil aviation." Israel has been saying all along that the flight ban was a huge overreaction to a minimal risk that is being handled by its military forces. The FAA banned U.S. airlines from flying to Israel on Tuesday and then extended the ban briefly on Wednesday after a rocket originating from the Gaza Strip exploded about three miles from Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport.
There was intense political pressure from Israel to stop the ban since it was widely perceived to play into the hand of Hamas, as it disrupted life and commerce for Israelis and those doing business with Israel. Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu said the flight ban "rewards the Hamas terrorists for nothing" and that Ben Gurion is safe for air traffic. “We protect this airport. There’s no reason whatsoever for the mistaken FAA decision to instruct American planes not to come here,” he said. Many airlines, independent of the FAA, also suspended flights to Israel and it's not clear how many will resume flights in the absence of the ban.