After a rocket exploded in a town near Ben-Gurion Airport, the FAA has ordered all flights to Israel to be temporarily canceled. The AP reports:
“Due to the potentially hazardous situation created by the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza, all flight operations to/from Ben Gurion International Airport by U.S. operators are prohibited until further advised,” the FAA said in its notice to airlines. The rocket strike landed about one mile from the airport, the agency said. […]The agency said it will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation, and that updated instructions will be provided to U.S. airlines “as soon as conditions permit, but no later than 24 hours” from the time the directive went into force.
Looming over this decision is the downing of Malaysia Air flight 17 in eastern Ukraine. One of the first questions proffered after that tragedy was why a civilian airliner had been routed through an active war zone. Evidently U.S. officials are eager to avoid having to field this question after another tragedy.This marks the first time in the latest conflict that a Hamas rocket attack has achieved an outcome of actual military consequence, as opposed to a propaganda victory. This raises the stakes for Israel considerably. If Palestinian rockets can cut off Israel’s chief link with the outside world, then they have become much more than a nuisance. This is the kind of threat that would make Israel even more determined to shut down Hamas’s rocket capabilities, and more willing to pay a high price in terms of international anger over its actions.[This post has been updated.]