Israel, the FAA, and International Isolation

Eugene Kontorovich  COMMENTARY

For years, peace processors and pundits have threatened that to stop its “growing international isolation,” Israel must make “painful concessions” and withdraw from territory. 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, rockets from Gaza accomplished yielded what peace processors said settlement construction would.  The suspension of flights by all major airlines is a major economic, diplomatic and psychological catastrophe for Israel. It now finds itself in same position as Iraq, Libya and Somalia.

Now Israel has a sword at its neck: it must face an economically devastating no fly-zone, or agree to a ceasefire that lets Hamas keep its rockets, and thus close Ben Gurion airport again at the time of its choosing. It is a loose-loose proposition.
Yes, Israel faces international isolation – as consequence of its attempts to avoid international isolation. Of course, nuanced thinkers are already explaining why this should not prejudice further, massive territorial withdraws from the hills immediately overlooking the Ben Gurion and the coastal plain.
Everyone is just jittery from the Malaysian Air shoot-down, they will say. Indeed: and Hamas has succeeded in turning Israel into Donetsk. 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.
The West Bank is vastly larger and closer to central Israel than Gaza.  What Hamas could do periodically and with great difficulty will be a daily occurrence. Israel will perhaps be able to survive, but with a sword at its neck, and on terms constantly dictated by the Palestinians, and whoever is ultimately in charge of the FAA.
Indeed, the decision-making behind the FAA ban demands investigation. Ben Gurion remains an extremely safe airport. The FAA had many various measures short of a flight ban, like warnings, that it could have imposed. The FAA only warns airlines about flying to Afghanistan; it does not ban them. And the FAA move comes the day after a general State Department warning about Israel – though far more people were killed in Chicago on Fourth of July weekend than in the Jewish State since the start of the Gaza campaign.
Whatever the intent, the Administration has cornered Israel in a booby-trapped tunnel, with Hamas on one side, and economic perdition on the other.
July 23, 2014 | 6 Comments »

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6 Comments / 6 Comments

  1. I don’t understand why Israel doesn’t have another airport available, say in the north, that could serve as an international airport. The Israeli airport administrator was going to open up the airport near Eilat, Ovda. I don’t know if that is going to persuade airlines from around the world to resume flights. How far is Ovda from the Gaza Strip? Maybe the Israelis need another airport somewhere in J&S far enough from Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, that it is not susceptible to rockets landing anywhere near. As even the left is now acknowledging, this seriously damages any argument for a two state solution.

  2. bernard ross Said:

    I would have thought that Mossad would have aa treasure trove on the scandal ridden POTUS. He obviously orchestrated the FAA ban. BB needs to inform the public on the enemy agenda.

    I don’t automatically assume the FAA boycott was orchestrated by the WH. I’m suspicious, but I don’t buy into conspiratorial thinking without some proof. Maybe it’s my legal training, I always look for evidence. But keep in mind, I’m suspicious. Based on his interview today, Alan Dershowitz apparently feels the same way.

    It might be another cynical and malicious attempt by Kerry and Obama to grab Israel by the balls and squeeze, it might be simply the administrator’s concern over another Malaysian Airlines-type disaster. Dershowitz points out that the FAA is an independent agency, not under the direct control of the POTUS, but that’s not to say that a phone call to the administrator wouldn’t do the trick. (He feels more strongly that it is not the President’s doing.) Still, I want to see some more evidence. I’m not saying it isn’t Obama/Kerry’s doing, but I’m not willing to say that it absolutely is, either.

    I think what’s happening with Europe is more evil and malicious, if for no other reason than Europeans are very boycott-oriented and hate Israel and Jews. They will look for any excuse to screw Israel.

  3. the phoenix Said:

    @ bernard ross:

    I also entered a Starbucks and realized that $1.00 will not buy a cup of coffee…

    Try McDonalds. If you’re old enough, you can get a senior coffee for 59 cents.

    I really am somewhat skeptical of the alleged blackmail of Clinton by Bibi, and I wonder if Mossad is really effective enough to have a large dossier on Obama. I also wonder if Mossad is sometimes the beneficiary of wild fantasies about how much it can really do. You would think all the Hamas and Hezbollah leaders would have been assassinated by now, if they were really that good.

  4. @ bernard ross:

    I would have thought that Mossad would have aa treasure trove on the scandal ridden POTUS.

    I also thought that Israel, being a nuclear power, would have an incredible deterrence…
    I also entered a Starbucks and realized that $1.00 will not buy a cup of coffee…