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Cruz: I Will Hold All State Department Nominees Until Questions Are Answered About Israeli Flight Ban

July 23, 2014

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WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, announced that he will hold all State Department nominees until the Obama Administration answers questions about its unprecedented decision to cancel flights to Israel, while at the same time announcing continuing aid that will be funneled to the terrorist organization, Hamas.                      

Earlier today, Sen. Cruz questioned whether the FAA’s decision to ban all U.S. flights to Israel amounted to an economic boycott of the nation and asked that five questions about the ban be answered.  When asked about his remarks, a State Department spokesperson said the questions were “offensive and ridiculous." 

“Serious questions were asked about the nature of a decision that handed Hamas a public relations victory and will cost Israel billions of dollars,” said Sen. Cruz. “The only thing ‘offensive’ about this situation is how the Obama Administration is spurning our allies to embolden our enemies; the only thing ‘ridiculous’ is the administration’s response to basic questions. Until the State Department answers my questions, I will hold all State Department nominees.”

The five questions Sen. Cruz is asking are below:

  • Was this decision a political decision driven by the White House? For instance, who was this decision made by - a career official, a political appointee, or someone else (at the FAA, State Department or White House?)
  • If the FAA’s decision was based on airline safety, why was Israel singled out, when flights would be permitted into Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen?
  • What was the FAA’s ‘safety’ analysis that led to prohibiting flights to Israel, while still permitting flights to Ukraine—where a commercial airline flight was just shot down with a BUK missile?
  • What specific communications occurred between the FAA and the White House?  And the State Department?  Why were any such communications necessary, if this was purely about airline safety?
  • Was this a safety issue, or was it using a federal regulatory agency to punish Israel to try to force them to comply with Secretary Kerry’s demand that Israel stop their military effort to take out Hamas’s rocket capacity?

The full statement Sen. Cruz released earlier today, asking if the FAA ban amounted to an economic boycott of Israel may be viewed here.

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