Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Dan Shapiro a day after the ambassador falsely accused Israel of maintaining a double standard in the rule of law in Judea and Samaria that, he says, discerns between Israelis and Palestinians. A State Department spokesman expressed support for Shapiro’s comments.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro on Tuesday, a day after Shapiro accused Israel of double standards in enforcing the law in Judea and Samaria and Netanyahu responded with a harsh rejection of his remarks.

According to the Jerusalem Post, the private meeting lasted 20 minutes in Netanyahu’s office, prior to Netanyahu’s meeting with four US congressmen.

Neither the Prime Minister’s Office nor the US embassy would provide any details on the conversation except to say the two discussed Shapiro’s controversial comments as well as the Memorandum of Understanding currently under negotiation between the US and Israel that will dictate what Israel will receive in US military aid in the coming decade.

Speaking at an INSS convention on Monday, Shapiro alleged that “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.”

Netanyahu rebuffed the allegations, saying “the ambassador’s comments, on a day when a mother of six is being buried and a pregnant woman is stabbed, are unacceptable and untrue. Israel enforces the law on Israelis and Palestinians. The one responsible for the diplomatic stalemate is the Palestinian Authority, which continues to incite and refuses to negotiate.”

John Kirby

State Department spokesman John Kirby. (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

In the meantime, a State Department spokesman expressed support for Shapiro’s comments.

John Kirby was asked, “Was it wise to send Ambassador Shapiro out to give a speech castigating the Israeli Government on issues, and not making really any new points?” at a sensitive time for both governments. Kirby responded that Shapiro said nothing new and that the Obama administration has “consistently made clear our concerns about violence on both sides, and we obviously have strongly condemned terrorist attacks perpetrated by Palestinians, including the attacks over the weekend. We also remain concerned and – deeply concerned, and we’ve not been bashful about saying this and neither was he, about Israeli settler violence against Palestinians and their property in the West Bank.”

And as for the relationship between Washington and Jerusalem, “it’s because we value the relationship with Israel so much that we feel it’s important to continue to have an honest, open, candid, forthright discussion about our concerns,” asserted Kirby.

“He didn’t say anything that we haven’t said, again, privately and publicly,” Kirby stressed.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel


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