Posts Tagged ‘Ben Gurion Airport’
Ben Gurion Airport officials foiled an attempt to smuggle drugs and bullets on a plane to Uzbekistan around noon Monday.
Flights were delayed until officials were certain there was no more contraband on the flight that was scheduled to take off at 14:00.
Inspectors discovered a cartridge of bullets in a toy in a suitcase carried by a 36-year-old man from central Israel. Surprised at the evidence, he ran away and shortly after was apprehended. He told investigators that a woman asked him to take the paclage because he already had several pieces of luggage.
The man later identified the woman, a citizen of Uzbekistan, and a further examination of her luggage revealed toy dolls stuffed with bullets and drugs.
Official checked out the entire plane to make sure there were no other drugs and ammunition on boards.
Hamas’ supreme leader Khaled Mashaal dashed any hopes of long-term peace with Israel in a speech in Qatar on Thursday in which he shot from the hip at Israel and also at his terrorist organization’s new partner, the rival Fatah movement headed by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
His lengthy speech in Qatar, which has financed Hamas terror and which fought Egyptian cease-fire proposals, followed by one day a “victory” speech by Ismail Haniyeh, the senior Hamas political leader in Gaza. Mashaal’s silence while Haniyeh accepted the cease-fire is a clear sign of a fierce power struggle between Hamas in Gaza and between Mashaal and Qatar, which holds the purse strings.
Mashaal also claimed victory, with lies that Hamas missiles hit the Ben Gurion Airport, which is not true, and that more than 5 million Israelis hid in bomb shelters, a gross exaggeration. However, there is no doubt that Hamas succeeded in scaring the daylight out of millions of Israelis, interrupting a few flights and generally turning half of Israel into sitting ducks.
And this won’t be the last time, regardless of a cease-fire, he warned.
“Whatever happened [in Gaza] is not the end to this story, and this is not the last operation to free Palestine. It was an important stop on the way to victory,” Mashaal declared.
His speech threw every obstacle possible on the road to negotiations with Israel. The talks are supposed to begin in a month, leaving open the possibility, or probability, that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is carrying on secret negotiations that will be formalized in 30 days.
The Prime Minister suffered another blow to any trust that Israelis may have for him with a report on Thursday that he met secretly with Jordanian King Abdullah, and perhaps Abbas, prior to the cease-fire, circumstantial evidence that Israel negotiated under fire, contrary to Netanyahu’s promise.
If Mashaal gets his way, there won’t be any talks because one of the new powers in Gaza is slated to be Abbas, whose security forces would patrol Gaza borders, according to the Egyptian proposal. That would provide Cairo with another tactic to get rid of Hamas.
Mashaal nailed Abbas to the wall in his speech, accusing him of throwing cold water on the resumption of the intifada during the war by allowing his security forces to limit protests.
“The next operation needs to use all of the Palestinian capabilities, not just part of them,” Mashaal said. “The resistance is holy and weapons are holy. There is no such thing as a country without weapons.”
A country or not, Gaza still has at least 2,000 rockets as well as anti-tank rockets and presumably anti-aircraft missiles. It still has rocket factories, one of which was filmed in production by Hamas during one of the failed cease-fires during the war.
Netanyahu had demanded that any halt in violence would be accompanied by disarming Hamas, but this week’s cease-fire only left the issue to be put on the negotiating table, along with Hamas’s demands for a deep-sea port and an airport.
Mashaal’s speech was full of hate and crude accusations that Israel inflicted a “Holocaust” on Gaza by “destroying schools and hospitals,” which all but the most extreme anti-Israel media now know were used by Hamas as rocket launching and terrorist command centers.
“We are against what Hitler did to the Jews, and Israel committed a second Holocaust in Gaza. Israel is an embarrassment to Jews and to the entire world,” according to Mashaal.
His rhetoric was aimed at Abbas as well as Israel. If and when negotiations begin, Egypt and the United States will be on the side of Abbas, who despite his unity government with Hamas has proved politically smart by a patient and single-minded tactic of using international support to slowly but surely win concession after concession from Israel until there is nothing left to negotiate.
Nora Gold has written a book, Fields of Exile (2014 Dundurn), that is unique in many ways. It provide layer upon layer of insight into various conundrums, both within her novel and within herself as well.
I was asked to review her book. The one thing I was told – indeed, it was all I needed to be told to make me want to read and review it – was that it is the first novel that deals with the rising swell of anti-Israel hatred on western campuses.
And it does. It does that very well.
But the book does much more. It provides a glimpse into the hearts and minds of those whom many in the unconflicted pro-Israel world simply cannot fathom: the leftist Israelis and/or other Jews who, nonetheless, actually love Israel. I am not talking about the faux lovers of Israel, the ones who call themselves “pro-peace and pro-Israel.” I am also excluding all the others who only criticize Israel, never those with whom Israel is locked in combat, and only criticize Israel, never praise her unless she makes major concessions or appeases her enemies, and then only briefly, until the next sacrifice is demanded.
Nora Gold and her Fields of Exile protagonist – Judith Gallanter – both love Israel fervently. And both hate and protest against the “Occupation.”
Judith, an olah, has returned to Canada because her father is dying. Shortly after Judith made aliyah her mother died and Judith wasn’t there. She could not do the same thing to her father. Then, just before her father dies, she promises him she will stay in Canada and get her Master’s degree in social work, so that she can be ably employed and independent in Israel when she returns.
What happens at the social work school and the surprise and betrayal Judith feels when Israel is considered the single worst form of evil on the planet, is something many Israel supporters will understand.
What is different is that Judith also despises the “occupation.” And so does the author. But Judith and Gold really, truly love Israel, identify with Israel and only feel fully alive and connected to and in Israel.
That’s the part that is so hard for many to understand.
Here is where Judith reveals her visceral connection to the land of Israel. She speaks about it as one does a family member who has imperfections but nonetheless is beloved:
Because her love for Israel is something like that. Unconditional. The way many people love their family members. You know all their faults, but still you love them. There are things about Israel she can’t stand. At the top of the list, the occupation, and this government’s treatment of Palestinians. (another definition of domestic violence: domestic policies that are violent.) But it doesn’t matter: Israel is her love. I am my beloved’s and beloved is mine.
Judith explains how that feeling coursed through her, connecting her soul to the land:
In Canada she’d always found geography and history boring, scoring low on her high-school leaving exams in both these subjects. But in Israel she was fascinated by every mountain range, by every excavated tell or Biblical battlefield. Because it was hers. It was about her people, and it told the story of what had happened to them, and therefore to her.
The story in Fields of Exile is multi-layered. The characters are richly drawn, with subtleties in many of the minor characters that make you want to know not only how Judith’s life unfolds, but also that of her social work classmates and her Israeli friends.
Fields of Exile is, in addition to a love story between a woman and the Jewish state, a modern love story between the protagonist and her pragmatic lawyer significant other. One whose significance grows, despite his straight-forward refusal to move to Israel and that, in spite of his less ambiguous support for the Jewish state and the very policies Judith finds repugnant.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s decision to impose an outright ban on U.S. flights to, from or over Israel which began on Tuesday, July 22, and which was extended through a second 24-hour period the following day, is unprecedented in terms of its scope and given the U.S. relationship with Israel and the specific incident out of which the ban allegedly arose. The FAA’s standards for determining whether a U.S. flag carrier can fly to every other spot in the world are different from — and more accommodating to travel than — the standard the United States has applied to Israel for the last 48 hours.
First, the FAA imposed a complete ban on U.S. flights into Israel, not just a partial ban and not just an advisory or the standard “should avoid” language. Second, the FAA imposed the ban on a host country which is one of America’s closest, longest-standing allies. Third, the ban against Israel’s Ben Gurion airport was imposed after a piece of shrapnel – created when Israel shot down a rocket fired by terrorists in Gaza – hit an Israeli home about a mile from the airport, it was not the rocket itself which struck near the airport and it wasn’t a rocket that could have hit a jet airliner, in any event.
So why did the FAA take this unusual step, one that is potentially economically catastrophic for our ally Israel?
There are really only two possible explanations: The first one is that the ban was imposed in order to protect the lives of American citizens. The second explanation, one that has been raised quietly here and there, and loudly in at least one office on Capital Hill, is that the ban was imposed in order to grab Israel by the back of its neck and force it into a ceasefire. That ceasefire would be imposed on the Jewish State before it is able to accomplish the mission it has set for itself after years of terrorist attacks with thousands of rockets.
Most people assumed the first explanation was the basis for the FAA ban. But the evidence does not add up. Nor does the historical record support the claims uttered by a State Department spokesperson that neither the White House nor the State Department played a role in the FAA decision to issue the categorical ban.
Marie Harf, at the State Department’s daily press briefing on Tuesday, claimed that the travel ban decision was warranted “for the safety of United States citizens.” She claimed that the FAA, “in response to the recent attack at Ben Gurion Airport – in the vicinity of Ben Gurion Airport” believed it was important to issue the ban.
The Jewish Press spoke at length with a former naval intelligence officer, Commander J.E. Dyer (ret.) about the FAA ban on U.S. flights to Israel.
FLIGHT BAN ON ISRAEL DISPROPORTIONATE, UNPRECEDENTED AND POLITICALLY DRIVEN
She made several categorical statements. First, the FAA ban on Israel was shocking and she believes it was absolutely a political decision rather than a decision made to secure the safety of U.S. citizens. Second, the ban is wholly disproportionate to the incident. Proof of that is what the FAA has done in response to far more dangerous and frequent attacks directly on airports in areas of concentrated violence which have gone on at least as long, if not longer, than the current situation in Gaza. Fourth, other than complete flight bans into North Korea and, currently, Eastern Ukraine, there are no complete bans on airports in any country in the world for U.S. airlines.
Is there a sane person on the planet who imagines that the threat to American airlines by North Korea is anything like that posed by the Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight Terrorists in Gaza? And the militarized pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine do indeed have the weapons, the ability and the will to shoot airplanes out of the sky – they’ve already done it more than once.
Delta Airlines and US Airways temporarily suspended flights to and from Israel on Tuesday, July 22 after a rocket fired by Gazan terrorists landed in the Israeli city of Yahud, which is 6 miles from Ben Gurion Airport. One Israeli was injured by that rocket attack.
Delta Flight #468 which was on its way to Tel Aviv from New York with 273 passengers turned around over the Mediterranean and flew instead to Paris. Delta announced the suspension of service to Tel Aviv with a statement on its website.
Following those cancellations, other airlines, both in the United States and abroad also suspended flights to Ben Gurion Airport. Among the other airlines grounding Israel-destination flights are Air France, SwissAir, Germany’s Lufthansa and the Netherlands KLM.
In response to the cancellations, Israel’s Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz called on the airlines to reverse their decision, insisting the Ben-Gurion Airport is safe and completely guarded and saying there is no reason to “hand terror a prize,” by halting the flights.
Instead, the U.S.’s Federal Aviation Agency banned all flights to Ben Gurion Airport for the next 24 hours.
UPDATE: Of course the ban does not apply to Israel’s airline, El Al. That airline has no intention of cancelling flights. “There is no chance we will stop operations,” an El Al spokesman told the Jerusalem Post.
Delta flight #469 with 362 passengers made an emergency landing at Ben Gurion airport at 2:30 AM on Sunday.
The plane, a Boeing 747 flying from Ben Gurion to JFK, declared the emergency shortly after takeoff, and circled over the ocean for over an hour before returning back to land in Israel.
The plane landed safely.