US condemns Ezra Schwartz's murder

US State Department, embassy condemn 18 year-old's murder in terror attack - but White House still silent.

Tova Dvorin,

Ezra Yehiel Schwartz Hy"d
Ezra Yehiel Schwartz Hy"d
Courtesy

US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro and the US State Department condemned the murder of 18-year-old American citizen Ezra Schwartz late Friday night, more than 24 hours after he was killed in a Palestinian terror attack in Gush Etzion. 

"As Shabbat begins, we mourn with the family and friends of Ezra Schwartz z"l, an American citizen murdered yesterday in a terrorist attack," Shapiro posted, at 4:35 pm Friday local time. "Our thoughts and prayers are with them, and with the families of the other victims of yesterday's attacks. May God bring them comfort."

The US State Department, too, released a late condemnation seven hours later - tweeting footage of spokesman John Kirby speaking on US Secretary of State John Kerry's behalf.

Ezra Yehiel Schwartz, 18, was a US citizen and a student at the Ashreinu Yeshiva in Beit Shemesh.

He was murdered Thursday as he and a set of friends traveled to volunteer work in Oz VeGaon, the site in Gush Etzion established in the wake of the abduction and murders of three Israeli teens last summer. 

American government officials maintained a deafening silence over Schwartz's murder, Arutz Sheva noted Friday morning.

Outrage over the silence snowballed overnight after the US State Department had - just hours before the attack which killed Ezra - issued a particularly harsh response against Israel for giving a "light" sentence to the policeman who beat Tariq Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian-American teen who participated in violent riots against Israel and who became the subject of a US and political media circus.

Both Israelis and Americans stated in the wake of Abu-Khdeir's beating that the US had given more attention to the teen than to the three Israeli teens - one a US citizen - who were abducted and murdered by Hamas weeks earlier. 

Petition for Ezra

While Shapiro and Kerry released condemnations in the hours after the report was published, US President Barack Obama has yet to release any statement about the attack. 

Outrage over Obama's silence not only reverberated throughout social media, but has also prompted a petition to be filed directly to the White House, demanding the POTUS formally acknowledge the attack. 

"On November 19, 2015, Ezra Schwartz, an 18-year old American citizen from Sharon, MA, was murdered by a terrorist while on his way to do volunteer charity work," the petition reads. "The government of the United States of America has failed to publicly acknowledge Ezra's murder and has taken no action to condemn the terror attack that took three lives."

"We respectfully request that President Obama publicly acknowledge the senseless killing of Ezra Schwartz, condemn the attack and rebuke the Palestinian Authority for claiming that the third victim of this attack, an Israeli Arab, was killed by Israeli forces, when not a single shot was fired by Israeli military or law enforcement and the terrorist was taken into custody unharmed," it continues. "Such lies are irresponsible and incite further terrorism."

Petitions filed through the We The People database require 100,000 signatures in 30 days to garner an official White House response, although the terms of use do suggest that "political considerations" may override the guarantee of a response. 




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