US State Department
US State DepartmentiStock

The United States on Wednesday again condemned the terrorist attack in Eli, in which four Israelis were murdered, but also criticized “rising levels of violence” in Judea and Samaria, after groups of Israeli youth entered Palestinian Arab cities and torched vehicles, shops, and homes.

“As we noted yesterday, we strongly condemn yesterday’s terrorist attack against Israelis near Eli in the West Bank that killed four individuals. We express our deepest condolences to the families of those killed. There is no justification for terrorism,” said State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel at the start of a press briefing with reporters.

“We are also deeply concerned by the rising levels of violence in the West Bank in recent months,” he added.

“There are troubling reports of extremist settler violence against Palestinian civilians, including the death of a Palestinian child and other injuries. We likewise condemn these violent acts and also extend our condolences to the families of those affected,” said Patel.

“Accountability and justice should be pursued with equal rigor in all cases of extremist violence, and we welcome the IDF’s condemnation of these acts and expect the Israeli Government to ensure full accountability and legal prosecution for those responsible for these attacks, in addition to compensation for lost homes and property,” he stated.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant earlier on Wednesday called on the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria not to take the law into their own hands following the riots in Arab cities and towns.

“I want to take this opportunity to call on my brothers, please don’t take the law into your hands, let the IDF do what it knows how to do best — to safeguard your security,” Gallant said.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller on Tuesday condemned the terrorist shooting attack near Eli, saying in a statement, “We will continue to work with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to promote steps towards de-escalation.”

The statement from Miller followed a controversial statement from the US Ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, which drew comparisons between the attack near Eli and the fierce gun battle between Israeli security forces in Jenin on Monday.

"Deeply concerned about the civilian deaths and injuries that have occurred in the West Bank these past 48 hours, including that of minors. Praying for the families as they mourn the loss of loved ones, or tend to those injured," Ambassador Nides wrote on Twitter Tuesday evening.

Following widespread criticism of the tweet, Nides issued a new tweet in which he wrote: "I condemn in the strongest terms the senseless murder of four innocent Israelis today — my heart is with their grieving family members."