FAA Ban on Israel, But No FAA Ban on Pakistan
UPDATE: The FAA has apparently extended flight restrictions by another 24 hours
The more important thing to remember in any argument about Israel is context. The other side works hard to treat Israel as an entity with no context. It’s important to raise questions by putting the context back.
I would cite the example of Pakistan, where there have been multiple, very serious attacks on commercial airports in recent months, including an attack on an airliner in Peshawar, this one on the airport in Karachi, and an earlier one involving Taliban rocket fire in Peshawar. In terms of the type of threat posed, the Pakistan Taliban is a fairly exact analogy to what Hamas can threaten Ben Gurion in Lod, Israel with – except that Israel does a much better job of securing Ben Gurion against the Hamas threat. In none of the instances in Pakistan has the FAA banned U.S. carriers from flying in and out of the Pakistani airports. At most, it has issued safety warnings.
It’s significant that the ban is unique, even though the conditions are not unique. If no FAA ban was issued on Pakistan despite multiple attacks on airports, we have to ask why.
Eugene Kontorovich at Commentary has some thoughts.
The “growing isolation” was always a myth. Israel’s trade with Europe has grown constantly in recent years, even as it developed new markets and ties in Asia. Tourism has reached record levels almost every year, as has the number of Israelis traveling abroad. Except to those sensitive to the movements of postmodern dance troupes, the international isolation was a chimera.
Now, however, international isolation has truly arrived–not from holding territory, but from leaving it. With the suspension of American and European flights to Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport, rockets from Gaza yielded what peace processors said settlement construction would. The flight suspension by all major airlines is a major–even if temporary–economic, diplomatic, and psychological setback for Israel.
Moreover, the timing of the FAA’s absurd and unjustified warning seems to have more to do with Kerry’s visit to the region to impose a cease-fire on Israel. Until his administration’s flight ban, that effort seemed entirely futile.
Sources suggest that there might be some basis for that assessment.
Kerry, in Cairo to broker a ceasefire in the Gaza conflict, told Netanyahu by telephone that U.S. authorities would review the order within a day, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was quoted as having said.
The notice “was issued to protect American citizens and American carriers,” Psaki said in the Egyptian capital.
“The only consideration in issuing the notice was the safety and security of our citizens,” she said.
It’s odd that Kerry’s spokeswoman is discussing the FAA’s rationale.
WorldNetDaily’s Aaron Klein argues that it may not be.
Behind the scenes, several Jerusalem diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity questioned whether the FAA flight-ban was in part a tactic to press Israel into a truce with Hamas.
Carl in Jerusalem asks if the FAA is the new IRS? Obama Inc. has a troubling habit of politicizing every agency of the Federal government.
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