Flight ban ‘could go back into place’
July 24th, 2014
06:01 PM ET
5 months ago

Flight ban ‘could go back into place’

(CNN) – Even as the Federal Aviation Administration lifted its ban on U.S. flights to and from Tel Aviv, two U.S. officials say the facts on the ground in Israel are the same as they were before the FAA freeze was put into place.

A State Department official says, "The circumstances in Tel Aviv from 72 hours ago are no different than the circumstances now."

Another U.S. official cautions they are keeping a close eye on the situation in Tel Aviv and "if this goes south the ban could go back into place."

The initial ban was put in place after a Hamas rocket hit a building less than a mile from the airport.

Just Thursday, the Israeli military said five rockets aimed at Tel Aviv were intercepted. A CNN team on site at the airport witnessed the firing off of an Iron Dome intercept.

Sources say the FAA, the U.S. Intelligence community and other U.S. government agencies have been in intense discussions with Israel since the ban was put into the place Tuesday.

“There was significant new information about the threat - new information/intelligence about the threat which they took into account, which led to the rescinding of this notice, and also measures - new measures the government of Israel put in place to mitigate potential risks to civilian aircraft and aviation,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Thursday.

But one of the officials says lifting of the ban "was not so much new intelligence as much as it is a better understanding of the planes going into and out of the airport."

The official says the Israelis improved certain protocols and procedures after the ban and were able to share new information with the United States about their defense capabilities that convinced the U.S. to resume air service into the Tel Aviv airport.

"We had a higher comfort level with the way they proposed to mitigate the threat we were seeing and it was satisfactory enough to allow airliners to resume," the official says.

But the top senator on the intelligence committee suggested to CNN that she is wary of the return of U.S. airliners to Israel. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said that while Israel’s missile defense system Iron Dome has a success rate of 86%, there is still a 14% chance a rocket could get through.

“I really regret that this has become a hot-button issue. It’s very important that civilian airlines be protected,” the California Democrat told CNN’s Dana Bash on Thursday.

Additionally, the U.S. official says that the decision to put the ban into place did not have anything to do with the Malaysian jet going down in the Ukraine and that there were many discussions that took place before the plane crashed about the U.S. threshold for flying into Tel Aviv.


Filed under: Israel
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Tony D

    This was just the Obama administration trying to punish Israel for defending itself, pure and simple. Anybody that thinks Obama is a friend of Israel is either out of his mind or lying.

    July 24, 2014 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    -ban all the flights to Israel, and surrounding areas. Israel is a nonsense to USA.

    July 24, 2014 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  3. Kelby in Houston Texas

    The only reason this ban was lifted is because Hamas came out and stated that such a ban represents a victory for Palestine. Well, Israel won't stand for that, so, safety be damned, the ban is lifted.
    If you fly to Israel under these current conditions, you are a fool

    July 24, 2014 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  4. rker321

    Until we have a comprehensive immigration law and it is enforced, we will not resolve this problem. Enforcement is what is lacking in all of this. Enforcing the deportations, enforcing the fines on the employers that hire illegals, enforcing in following up the visas of people that enter the US and don't leave, Enforcing the student visas at expiration. Enforcement is the word.

    July 24, 2014 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  5. rs

    If Israel and the Palestinian Authority cannot secure air corridors and the airports for the benefit of all, sending in large commercial passenger-laden targets seems ill-advised-especially given the recent Ukraine tragedy.
    Perhaps international isolation will help them see the senselessness of their actions and they'll stop killing each other and begin to negotiate for peace like it really matters and elect to live together.

    July 24, 2014 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  6. Smitty

    Politics any one ???

    July 24, 2014 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  7. S. B. Stein

    I don't see the reason for stopping planes from flying to Israel. The approach to the airport can be changed. Besides, it is rewarding Hamas for targeting a civilian location.

    July 24, 2014 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  8. Thomas

    If an America flag Airliner is shot down over Gaza , Hamas and all there friends and family will be terminated no matter what the cost .

    A downed American Jet will pull America into the roll as rug sanitizer for all Islamic fundamentalist terrorists ,

    It's time for muslims to stand up against fundamental terrorism . And I't's time for israeli Jew's to stop building settlements on others land.

    July 24, 2014 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  9. Tm8

    Oh this will be music to Senator Ted Cruz's ears. Now he may continue to build his entire 2016 position on this platform.

    July 25, 2014 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  10. Marie MD

    I wouldn't fly into that whole area for all the money the twit has.
    It's extremely dangerous. Passenger planes being shot down. Bombs dropping too close to airports.
    No thanks.

    July 25, 2014 06:43 am at 6:43 am |