New York Daily News editorial

Hamas scored a victory in its latest nihilistic, death-obsessed war with Israel when its rockets prompted the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and most Western airlines to suspend flights to Ben Gurion Airport.

Despite Israel’s successful Iron Dome defense, the terror group managed to get a projectile close enough to the major travel hub to stoke fears about the safety of air transit. Thus the shutdown.

With the Israeli government insisting travel is safe, the country’s national airline, El Al, kept planes in the air. One ferried former Mayor Michael Bloomberg on a mission to show much-needed solidarity with the Jewish state and demonstrate that the dangers were minimal. [See following story.]

Regardless, the specter that Hamas could blow a jet out of the sky has exerted a chilling effect on the Israeli economy — one that was particularly acute after the shootdown over Ukraine of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17.

Since Hamas launched its offensive against Israel on June 30, the terror group has let loose more than 2,100 rockets, displaying both the extent of its armaments and their increasing sophistication.

Left to their own devices, the Islamist rocketeers will only get more heavily armed and more adept at targeting. Inevitably, they would try to choke air traffic whenever the time seemed right, which would be frequently.

That’s an added reason why Israel must resist pressure from all quarters — including the U.S. — to prematurely stop military operations in Gaza.

Now is the time for Israel to accomplish the goal of eliminating Hamas’s ability to fire rockets at the airport and willy-nilly at civilian targets across the Jewish state.

Imagine the American response should enemies fire at JFK or LaGuardia. And imagine the consequences if the U.S. did not definitively remove those enemies’ ability to attack again.

Israel left Gaza completely to the Palestinians nearly a decade ago. Two years later, Hamas violently seized control from its Palestinian rivals. Since then, the Iranian-backed zealots have four times begun wars by aiming rockets at civilian targets in Israel.

Each previous time, Israel yielded to Western pressure and stood down in exchange for a return to “silence for silence.” It cannot do so again.

In this latest exchange, Israel honored an Egyptian-sponsored ceasefire only to have Hamas continue its barrage. Even now, the terror band says that it will stop its assaults only if Israel bows to certain demands. Nuts to that.

Hamas must be demilitarized — and the network of tunnels in which it stores munitions and through which fighters launch attacks, destroyed.

So Israel must press on as Hamas makes a spectacle of Palestinian corpses to play on the world’s misplaced sympathies. There are fatalities only because Hamas started a war that Israel has no choice but to finish.


Bloomberg: I flew to Tel Aviv to show solidarity with Israelis and prove Israel’s airports are safe

Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, said closing access to major infrastructure networks in the face of terrorist threats can be self-defeating.

Mike Bloomberg (l.) stands for a photograph with Shimon Peres, Israel's president, in Jerusalem on Wednesday, July 23.
Mike Bloomberg (l.) stands for a photograph with Shimon Peres, Israel’s president, in Jerusalem on Wednesday, July 23.

Just hours after the Federal Aviation Administration prohibited domestic airlines from flying to Israel this week, I boarded an El Al flight from Kennedy Airport to Ben Gurion International Airport outside Tel Aviv to express solidarity with the Israeli people and show the world that Israel’s airports remain open and safe.

The FAA’s decision was prompted by a Hamas rocket that struck Israel about a mile away from the airport.

Ben Gurion is the best protected airport in the world. . . . Israel would not keep Ben Gurion open if it were not secure.

Hamas would like nothing more than to close Ben Gurion, isolating Israel from the international community and seriously damaging its economy.

In times of crisis, acting out of an abundance of caution can be prudent. But closing access to major infrastructure networks in the face of terrorist threats can be self-defeating.

This was something I learned as mayor of New York City. After terrorists tried to detonate a car bomb in Times Square, I went to a restaurant there the following evening for dinner — and invited the world to join me.

When terrorist plots to attack the city’s subway emerged, as they would from time to time, I made sure to be seen riding it to work, as usual — and encouraged New Yorkers to keep doing so as well.

In each case, we refused to allow the possibility of additional terrorist attacks to deter us from carrying on with our everyday lives.

Lift the ban, and let American carriers take flight.

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