The Biden administration called on Israel to crack down equally on Jewish and Palestinian extremism, in a sharply worded statement Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood delivered to the UN Security Council after a visit to the region that drew equivalency between the actions of both populations. “The United States expects to see equal treatment of extremists – whether Israeli or Palestinian,” Wood told the UNSC, which on Monday held its monthly meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In a statement that could only have been directed at Israel, Wood clarified that this meant “arrests, convictions and punishments, as well as equal allocation” by Israel “of resources to prevent and investigate violent attacks.”
Other statements he made were directed at both the Israeli and Palestinian leadership, such as when he called for “the parties” to “take urgent action to reduce the troubling levels of extremist violence fueling instability in the West Bank.”
“It is also vital for Israeli and Palestinian leaders to both condemn all forms of violence irrespective of the nationality of the perpetrator,” he said.
Wood added, “Unilateral actions and unhelpful rhetoric by the parties only serve to escalate tensions, fuel violence and undermine the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution. These actions must stop.”
The deputy ambassador was among a number of envoys who make up the 15-member council to speak out against the shooting death last week of Jana Zakarneh, 16, as she stood on the rooftop of her home in Jenin. An initial IDF review of the incident found it likely she was accidentally killed by the IDF during armed clashes with Palestinian gunmen.
Wood said her death was a tragic reminder of the human cost of the conflict.
He also emphasized US support for maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif. Under the status quo, Jews can visit Judaism’s holiest site, but cannot pray there. Members of the incoming Israeli government, which has yet to be sworn in, have spoken in support of Jewish prayer at the Temple Mount.
“We also underscore the imperative of maintaining the historic status quo at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount and condemn provocative actions and rhetoric related to the holy site,” Wood said.
By Tovah Lazaroff/Jpost