The United States on Monday once again equated the recent incident in the Palestinian Arab village of Burqa, in which a 19-year-old Arab was killed, and terrorist attacks perpetrated by Palestinian Arab terrorists against Israelis.
This time, it was the US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who made the comments.
“The United States remains deeply concerned by violence in the West Bank and Israel, and we express our condolences to those injured or killed in the past month,” said Thomas-Greenfield at a UN Security Council briefing on the situation in the Middle East.
“We strongly condemn Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis, including this morning’s shooting attack near Hebron, the August 19th attack outside Huwara that killed a father and son, and the August 5th attack in Tel Aviv that killed an Israeli police officer,” she added.
“We condemn the reckless launch of rockets by militants in the West Bank – a deeply troubling event. And strongly condemn the terror attack by settlers in Burqa on August 4th that killed a 19-year-old Palestinian,” Thomas-Greenfield then said, referring to the Burqa incident.
“We note Israel has made several arrests and expect accountability and justice to be pursued with equal rigor in all cases of violent extremism, whether the perpetrators are Palestinian militants, or extremist Israeli settlers,” added the Ambassador.
“The escalating violence underscores the need for the parties to take immediate steps to de-escalate and restore calm. We encourage Israeli and Palestinian security forces to increase their cooperation to improve the security situation in the West Bank. And we urge all parties to take proactive measures to counter all forms of violence and incitement to violence, and refrain from actions that inflame tensions including settlement activity, evictions, the demolition of Palestinian homes, terrorism, incitement of violence, and payments to the families of terrorists,” said Thomas-Greenfield.
Earlier this month, following the shooting attack in Tel Aviv in which city patrolman Chen Amir was murdered, the State Department published two tweets in which it equated that attack and the incident in Burqa.
State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller later doubled down on that assertion when pressed about the tweets at a press briefing.
Asked how this apparent change in rhetoric should be interpreted, Miller replied, “I think you can interpret it that we are greatly concerned about that attack. We are greatly concerned about all the attacks that we saw in Israel, in the Palestinian territories over the weekend. We strongly condemn those attacks. Our – the tweet that the – that NEA issued over the weekend made clear our position on terrorist attacks. It made clear our position on extreme settler violence.”
Miller continued, “I would note that the IDF spokesperson called the attack in Burqa ‘nationalist terrorism’ just this morning. So we have – I would add that we have also been clear that accountability and justice should be pursued with equal rigor in all cases of violent extremism, whoever the perpetrators are.”
Pressed on the decision to describe the Burqa incident a terrorist attack, he replied, “The thinking is that it was a terror attack, and we are concerned about it, and that’s why we called it that.”
“We have made quite clear our concerns, but I would note that the Government of Israel has made an arrest in this case and is seeking to hold the perpetrator accountable, and that’s an appropriate action,” added Miller.