By Amie Parnes - 07/24/14 05:45 PM EDT
President Obama on Thursday defended the Federal Aviation Administration's decision earlier in the week to ban flights to Tel Aviv, saying that it took "prudent action" based on facts and not politics or the country's relationship with Israel.
When Israel worked through and completed a checklist of concerns and convinced the FAA that it was safe to land a plane there, Obama said, "we moved forward."
"And by the way, the European governments in terms of the regulating their airlines, did the exact same thing," Obama added. "So I think what happened here was in light of some scary moments a couple of days ago, the FAA took some prudent action."
Republican Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzThe Hill's 12:30 Report Trump steps up campaign spending in final stretch McMullin tops new poll of Utah voters MORE (Texas) accused the Obama administration of having launched "an economic boycott" against Israel by halting the flights.
“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,” he said.
The ban also coincided with Secretary of State John KerryJohn Kerry5 reasons Trump's final debate performance sealed his 2016 coffin US pledges to do all it can to fight 'grave threat' of nuclear North Korea Armani, Batali among guests at White House state dinner MORE visiting Israel for negotiations on a cease-fire between the country and Hamas.
The FAA lifted the ban on flights to Israel early Thursday morning.