The FAA's decision to ban U.S. jetliners from flying to Israel’s main airport for 24 hours is a stinging slap at Israel and a victory for Hamas, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum tells Newsmax TV.
"Obviously, given what happened in the Ukraine, you have to be concerned … but I don't see any evidence that the Palestinians or Hamas have the wherewithal to take down a jet flyer,'' Santorum said Tuesday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"The security of the iron dome has been proven to be pretty effective against scud missiles."
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"And if the Israelis are comfortable flying airliners all around Israel, which they are, I would feel fairly confident that they have the security in hand to protect Americans as well as other international flights.''
Santorum said he doubts the U.S. officials consulted with Israel before making the decision to avoid Ben Gurion International Airport.
"[I don't think] we talked to the Israelis about it and the Israelis said, you know look, we don't feel comfortable that we can provide security for your international flights and therefore we won't be comfortable with it,'' he said.
"I'm sure they believe they have the security in hand to protect domestic and international airlines, commercial airline flights and that this is simply a slap in the face of the Israelis and a win for Hamas.''
The ban was enacted after a rocket landed a mile from airport in Tel Aviv, the FAA said.
Santorum criticized the Obama administration's suggestion that the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 by Russian separatists over Ukraine is a European issue and a “wake-up call” for Europe.
"This is more of the leading from behind. I mean this is an act of war … an intentional shooting down of a commercial airliner,'' he said.
"This is a serious, serious international issue. This is not a regional problem. This is an international problem that has severe consequences for the world.
"That the president decided it was more important … to attend Democratic fundraisers instead of being in the Situation Room and making sure we had a coordinated response from all parties in the freedom-loving world to this horrific act again shows the president refuses to lead.''
Santorum, a former GOP presidential candidate and now CEO of EchoLight Studios, maker of family-friendly PG-rated movies, played coy when asked if he plans to throw his hat in the ring again in 2016.
"Right now, we're doing everything consistent with taking the shot at 2016 but we're not going to make any decisions until next year,'' he said.
"A lot of factors go into making the race, but I'm very concerned about where this country's going.''
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