Earlier I wondered how gormless the West’s political elites must be, given their habit of saying and doing exactly the wrong thing.
Normally we have to wait to see politicians’ boneheaded decisions bare bitter fruit… but not this time!
Late last month the FAA halted flights by US carriers to Israel’s Ben Gurion airport. United States Senator (Texas) Ted Cruz questioned whether the actions undertaken by the FAA were politically motivated punishment for Israel or, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted, “the decision only rewards the Hamas terrorists”;
Well, surely that’s just hyperbole and Hamas paid the actions of the FAA little heed. Or not. As a Hamas spokesman said “The success of Hamas in closing Israeli airspace is a great victory for the resistance, and is the crown of Israel’s failure,” either way. Well, “Safety is the very first priority for DOT, for FAA,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “As the situation continues to evolve, we will adjust our guidance accordingly.”
What a relief!
Don’t worry though, Marie Harf at the State Department is going to set Hamas straight: “The rocket fire needs to stop. And we do want them to return to ceasefire talks, so that is something we are certainly still pressing with relevant parties[.]” Got that? Stopping US carriers from flying to Israel’s only international airport isn’t “a great victory for the resistance”.
Needless to say, whether the FAA’s decision was based only on safety or on political pique by the current administration, the situation is the same: the FAA’s actions have dramatically reduced the chance of meaningful movement in the peace process. Indeed, I will go so far as to say that ten years from now the decision by the FAA will be regarded as the death knell of the two-state solution.
The FAA’s decision, as the words of Eugene Kontorovich made clear, shows “that Israel has a sword at its neck: face a private-sector no-fly zone or agree to a cease-fire that lets Hamas keep its rockets, and thus close Ben Gurion Airport again at the time of its choosing.” This is the case whether or not you note that the FAA’s decision is dramatically different from how it has dealt with the much more severe danger in Pakistan, for example. (Hat tip to the Yid with the Lid.)
The further irony is that the more the FAA and the Obama administration stick to the line that the FAA’s decision was non-political, the worse the damage will be to the two-state solution and the peace progress. After all, if it was really a political decision then when a more… let’s say supportive administration comes into office, the politics will change. If on the other hand the FAA’s reaction of last month is what can be expected regardless of the administration in power, then Israel must, for the sake of continued economic existence, understand that any amount of militarization (which has followed autonomy like night follows day) in the Palestinian territories constitutes giving a veto to the Palestinians over Israel’s international trade.
So… congratulations? The Obama administration has managed to maneuver itself into a situation where all possible outcomes are bad outcomes and all their efforts actively work against their own stated goals.