Israel’s leaders are enraged by comments coming out of the US State Department blaming Israel for the Palestinian violence, and for alleging Israel uses excessive force to stop terrorism.
Israeli minsters responded with rage on Wednesday to remarks by the US State Department that Israel may be using “excessive force” against Palestinian terrorists.
Speaking to IDF Radio Thursday morning, Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan said he was not surprised by the remarks, as the State Department has traditionally been hostile to Israel.
“I don’t expect anything from the spokespeople at the State Department,” Erdan said. “The State Department has traditionally been hostile to the State of Israel.”
However, “to be misled by lies which are presented to the State Department is very strange, amateurish, and even less than that,” he charged.
The usually composed and soft-spoken Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon went on a tirade when he responded to the allegations.
“We’re using excessive force?!” he asked rhetorically while speaking to IDF Radio, “If someone raises a knife and he is killed, that consists of excessive force? What are we talking about here?”
“I meet with military generals from the US and around the world who talk about our high standards. Missions came here [Israel] to learn how we operated during Operation Protective Edge. So they [the US] are talking here about excessive force?” he blasted.
On Wednesday, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked told Israel Radio that Washington “either has a complete misunderstanding of the situation or is being hypocritical.”
The Israeli ministers were responding to remarks made by State Department spokesman John Kirby that “we’ve certainly seen some reports of what many would consider excessive use of force [by Israel]” against the seemingly endless string of Palestinian terror attacks.
“Obviously we don’t like to see that,” he added.
It’s Not About Affixing Blame?
A day earlier, Kerry said that Israel’s construction in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria is the cause of the latest wave of Palestinian terror attacks.
“What’s happening is that, unless we get going, a two-state solution could conceivably be stolen from everybody,” Kerry said. “And there’s been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years, and now you have this violence because there’s a frustration that is growing.”
Kirby made a failed attempt to clarify Kerry’s disturbing remarks.
“The secretary wasn’t saying, well now you have the settlement activity as the cause for the effect we’re seeing,” Kirby is quoted by The Jerusalem Post as saying. “Is it a source of frustration for Palestinians? You bet it is, and the secretary observed that. But this isn’t about affixing blame on either side here for the violence. What we want to see is the violence cease.”
He said that the US position against Israel’s construction in Judea and Samaria is “crystal clear” and remains unchanged.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu subsequently ordered his ministers not to respond publicly to the remarks in an attempt to de-escalate the situation vis-à-vis the Obama administration.
By: Max Gelber, United with Israel