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Israel and Palestine

FAA rescinds security ban on U.S. airline flights to Israel

The Federal Aviation Administration has officially canceled its temporary halt on U.S.-based airlines traveling to Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport, located in Tel Aviv. The ban had been instituted Tuesday after a Hamas rocket attack landed a mile away from the airport.

The FAA explained its decision in a press release Wednesday night:

Before making this decision, the FAA worked with its U.S. government counterparts 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's primary mission and interest are the protection of people traveling on U.S. airlines. The agency will continue to closely monitor the very fluid situation around Ben Gurion Airport and will take additional actions, as necessary. [FAA]

The ban was handed down after several airlines had already begun suspending service to Ben Gurion, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian-run Gaza Strip. However, the agency's actions also triggered a political backlash.

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, a political independent, traveled to Israel on the country's own airline, El Al, in order to publicly express his disagreement — though he vociferously opposed any accusations that the ban had been based on political decisions. Meanwhile, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) went so far as to accuse the Obama administration of launching an "economic boycott" against Israel.