U.S. Urges Israel, PA to Show Restraint

The U.S. urges both Israelis and Arabs to exercise restraint as tensions mount over terrorist's death.

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Elad Benari,

Protester throws a rock during clashes with I
Protester throws a rock during clashes with I

The United States on Monday urged both Israelis and Palestinian Authority Arabs to exercise restraint as tensions were mounting over the death of a PA Arab terrorist in an Israeli prison.

State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell made the appeal as Arabs continued to riot and clash with security forces throughout Judea and Samaria over the death of Arafat Jaradat, who died on Saturday at the Meggido Prison.

"We call on Israelis and Palestinians to exercise maximum restraint as the situation in [Judea and Samaria] remains tense," Ventrell told reporters at a news briefing, noting Washington was conveying the message directly to both sides.

"All parties should seriously consider the consequences of their actions, particularly at this very difficult moment," he added. "We urge both Palestinians and Israelis, not only to refrain from provocative actions that could destabilize conditions on the ground, but to consider positive steps to reestablish trust and de- escalate the current tensions."

Jaradat was detained on February 18 and died five days later. An autopsy conducted on his body on Sunday found that it is impossible to determine the exact cause of the heart failure that led to his death.

The PA’s minister of prisoners, Issa Qaraqaa, nevertheless took advantage of the non-conclusive report to blame Israel for torturing Jaradat to death, citing the preliminary findings of the joint autopsy which reported bruises on Jaradat's body, muscle damage and broken ribs. The autopsy report said that these were a result of intense resuscitation efforts.

 "We understand that the Israeli government is looking carefully into the circumstances of Mr. Jaradat's death," Ventrell said. "We expect all parties to consider the results of the autopsy calmly, and without inflammatory rhetoric."

The United Nations, meanwhile, called on Monday for an independent inquiry into Jaradat’s death, warning that mounting tensions risk an eruption of violence in the region.

UN Middle East peace envoy Robert Serry made the call in a statement after talks with PA prime minister Salam Fayyad.

“The United Nations expects the autopsy to be followed by an independent and transparent investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Jaradat's death, the results of which should be made public as soon as possible,” said Serry.