US ambassador to Israel slams government settlements policy

By AP – Jan 18,2016 – JORDAN TIMES


A Palestinian inspects the rubble of a farm that was demolished after Israeli authorities said it was built without a permit on Monday in the West Bank village of Al Fundoq, east of the village of Qalqiliya (AFP photo)

TEL AVIV — The US ambassador to Israel criticised Israel’s West Bank settlement policies at a high-profile security conference Monday, a rare public rebuke from Israel’s top ally that drew an angry response from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Daniel Shapiro said that Washington was “concerned and perplexed” over Israel’s strategy of building West Bank settlements. Speaking to the annual conference of the Institute for National Security Studies, a top Israeli think tank, he said Israel’s continued expansion of settlements raises questions about Israel’s intentions and its stated commitment to establishing an independent Palestinian state. Shapiro added that Israel had also legalised some West Bank outposts despite pledges to the United States not to do so.

As Israel’s closest friend, the United States is steadfast in its support for Israel but it was also its role to call Israel out on its errors, Shapiro said. He noted that Israel restricts Palestinian economic development in the West Bank and, despite its recent indictment against the suspects in a deadly arson attack against a Palestinians family, bemoaned what he called an inadequate response to settler violence.

“Too much vigilantism goes unchecked and at times there seem to be two standards of adherence to the rule of law: one for Israelis and another for Palestinians,” he said.

In the West Bank, Israelis are subject to Israeli civil law, while Palestinians are governed by Israeli military law, which offers far fewer legal protections. Palestinians and rights groups say that Israelis suspected in violence against Palestinians are rarely brought to justice, while Palestinian attackers are quickly arrested or killed.

The Israeli human rights group Yesh Din said Shapiro’s comments were grounded in data they have been collecting that showed an 85 percent failure rate in investigating ideologically motivated crimes by Israelis against Palestinians.

Over the past decade, the group says it has monitored the police’s handling of 1,104 investigations opened following complaints of Palestinians. It says indictments were served against suspects in just 75 of these cases.

Shapiro’s remarks sparked a terse response from Netanyahu, who said they were inappropriate at a time of heightened violence with the Palestinians.

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1 reply

  1. Sorry we talked ‘naughty’. May be another couple of billion of dollars worth of arms and bombs (to drop on Palestinian civilians) will make you forgive us?

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