Washington: The US denies that a ban on US airliners flying to Tel Aviv and a stark US travel warning are ploys to push Israel to agree a Gaza truce.
“I would wholly disagree with that argument,” deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said, when asked if the two directives were a political move to put pressure on Israelis.
“We issued travel warnings because one of our top priorities is protecting US citizens overseas,” she told reporters on Tuesday.
Despite deep links between Americans and Israel, the State Department on Monday warned all US citizens against travelling to Israel, the West Bank or Gaza because of “ongoing hostilities”.
But the State Department was not involved in the decision by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to bar US airliners from flying to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport for the next 24 hours.
“The FAA makes these decisions when they feel it’s warranted, again, for the safety of United States citizens,” Ms Harf said, adding that the warning was in response to a “recent attack” by a Hamas rocket.
Full article: Gaza conflict: Is US pressuring Israel with airport ban? (Sidney Morning Herald)
See also: U.S. banning flights to press Israel into cease-fire? (WND)