Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 17, 2014

FAA Lifts Ban on U.S. Flights to Israel’s Main Airport

The Federal Aviation Administration late Wednesday night cancelled its restrictions on U.S. airline flights into and out of Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport.

The agency said it had consulted with other federal agencies “to assess the security situation in Israel and carefully reviewed both significant new information and measures the Government of Israel is taking to mitigate potential risks to civil aviation.”

The FAA said it would continue to monitor “the very fluid situation” around the airport and “take additional actions, as necessary.”

The agency imposed the flight ban Tuesday after a rocket strike landed approximately one mile from the airport.

Critics ranging from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg castigated the FAA for what they saw as over-cautiousness and charged that the ban was hurting Israel, a key U.S. ally.

Bloomberg flew to Tel Aviv on El Al to show his disdain for the flight ban and his support for Israel.

Cruz charged Wednesday that President Barack Obama had politicized the FAA and “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.”

Roll Call’s Niels Lesniewski reported that Cruz announced late Wednesday that he’d hold up State Department nominees until FAA lifted its ban on flights to Tel Aviv.

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