In light of the constant barrage of rockets between Israel and Gaza, some of which have come within a mile to hitting Ben Gurion International Airport, Delta Airlines suspended all flights to and from Israel. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) followed soon after, declaring a total ban on flights to Israel for at least 24 hours.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has followed suit, issuing a warning to all its airlines to cancel flights to Israel for the safety of all passengers and crew. Only a handful of flights were going in and out of Tel Aviv, with British Airways and several other smaller carriers being the only airlines still operating.
Delta, American Airlines, Lufthansa, and Dutch carrier KLM have all canceled flights to the Israeli airport. Israeli airline El Al continues to run in and out of Ben Gurion International Airport.
It is very unusual for an airline or government regulatory bodies, in this case the FAA, to issue a moratorium on flights to a particular country. Decisions such as this typically come with diplomatic consequences, as it may be construed as an insult or, in more extreme cases, a sign of war.
The move has come under fire from many notable supporters of Israel, such as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who flew to Tel Aviv on Tuesday despite the travel warnings. The former mayor has called the cancelation of flights a 'reward to Hamas.'
Benjamin Netanyahu's government has stated that 'not flying to Israel is a gift to the enemy,' because it reflects upon the belief that Israel is not safe and cannot keep its visitors safe. Proponents of the ban on flights have lauded its pragmatism in keeping crew, passengers, and property (the plane itself) safe from harm or the threat of danger. In the wake of the destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine, which killed 300 people, many airlines are skittish about flying over areas where rockets are readily available.
Over 630 Palestinians have been killed in the current conflict, many of them children, as children under 18 make up a large percentage of the population. 29 Israeli and 3 Israeli civilians have been killed.
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