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Washington • Republican Sen. Ted Cruz on Wednesday questioned whether President Barack Obama used a federal agency to impose an economic boycott on Israel after the Federal Aviation Administration banned U.S. airline flights to Tel Aviv because of safety concerns amid fighting between Israel and Hamas.
"The facts suggest that President Obama has just used a federal regulatory agency to launch an economic boycott on Israel in order to try to force our ally to comply with his foreign-policy demands," Cruz said.
The FAA said its prohibition was in response to a rocket strike that landed about a mile from the airport as hostilities between Israel and Hamas militants rages. More than 680 Palestinians and 34 Israelis have been killed.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf called the Texas senator's comments "ridiculous and offensive." She said the FAA makes its "decision based solely on the security and safety of American citizens, period."
Catherine Frazier, a spokeswoman for Cruz, said the Obama administration's foreign policy was "ridiculous and offensive."
The Associated Press