TEL AVIV, Israel, July 23 (UPI) -- Hamas
had one of the few positive reactions to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
's decision to ban American carriers from flying to or from Israel's Ben Gurion
The FAA made the initial directive Tuesday afternoon and renewed it for a second 24-hour period Wednesday in response to rocket fire coming within one mile of the Tel Aviv airport.
Hamas welcomed the ban, seeing it as a sign of victory.
"The resistance success in stopping the air traffic and isolating Israel from the world is a great victory for the resistance," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum
Israel condemned the move and, in response, reopened Ovda Airport
in the southern town of Eilat, near the Egyptian border.
"The security in Ben Gurion and in Israel is as good as it gets," said Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. "The reality is that the risk coming to Israel is minimal, and if it would be larger we would take the initiative and tell everyone not to come here."
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg also criticized the move and flew to Tel Aviv on Tuesday in protest.
"I'm not trying to prove anything. I'm just trying to show that it's safe, and a great place to visit, and Israel has a right to defend its people, and they're doing exactly what they should be doing," Bloomberg said.
"The flight restrictions are a mistake that hand Hamas an undeserved victory and should be lifted immediately. I strongly urge the [FAA] to reverse course and permit U.S. airlines to fly to Israel," he added.
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