Israel must hold settler vigilantes accountable for torching of Palestinian homes and cars in the Huwara area in the West Bank, Biden administration officials said as the United Nations Security Council prepared to hold a closed-door session Tuesday on the matter.
“We expect the Israeli government to ensure full accountability and legal prosecution of those responsible for these attacks, in addition to compensation for the lost homes and property,” US State Department Spokesman Ned Price said in a sharply worded statement on Monday afternoon.
During the rampage over 30 homes were damaged, dozens of cars were burned and a Palestinian man was killed.
The Huwara attack was sandwiched between two Palestinian shooting attacks in which three Israelis were killed – two were shot on Sunday and another on Monday, who was also a US citizen.
Israel’s security forces must act equitably to protect both Israeli and Palestinian civilians, Price said, referring to the fact the IDF forces were present in Huwara but unable to halt the attacks against its residents by Jewish extremists.
“Accountability and justice should be pursued with equal rigor in all cases of extremist violence,” said Price, adding that “equal resources” should be “dedicated to preventing such attacks.”
At the White House, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby welcomed the statements by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog against the Huwara violence.
“We condemn the violence in all its forms. We also fully agree with the statements from Herzog and Netanyahu that citizens cannot take the law into their own hands.
“What happened was totally unacceptable, something that we’ve heard loud and clear from our Israeli partners,” he added.
Both he and Price held fast to the success of a regional conference held on Sunday in Aqaba with officials from five governments – Palestinian Authority, Israel, Jordan, Egypt and the United States – even though it was not able to quell the violence.
“The Aqaba meeting was designed precisely to help manage and diffuse crises like these, to enhance political and security coordination to help protect Israelis and Palestinians alike,” Kirby said.
In New York, the UAE called for a closed-door UNSC meeting scheduled for Tuesday. “In light of the alarming developments in the situation in the occupied West Bank, the UAE has urgently called for the Security Council to convene in closed consultations tomorrow,” the Emirati spokesperson to the country’s UN mission in New York tweeted.
It’s the second time this month the UAE has called for the UNSC to meet on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Earlier this month the UNSC issued a rare statement condemning Israeli settlement activity.
International condemnations of Huwara attacks
“The violence that we've seen in the village over the weekend is unacceptable and we condemn it.”Stephan Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
The United Nations and other countries issued condemnations of violence on both sides on Monday.
“The violence that we’ve seen in the village over the weekend is unacceptable and we condemn it, and we call on others to condemn it,” said Stephane Dujarric, who is the spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as he pointed to incidents against both Palestinian and Israeli civilians.
Guterres believes there “can be no justification for terrorism, nor for arson and acts of revenge against civilians.
“Security forces have the responsibility to maintain security and prevent individuals from taking the law into their own hands. He underscores that violence, provocations and incitement must stop immediately,” Dujarric said.
The secretary-general urges all sides to de-escalate the situation, said Dujarric, adding that Guterres was encouraged by the statements out of the Aqaba summit in Jordan on Sunday.
EU, France condemn West Bank violence, call for de-escalation
France “strongly condemned” Sunday’s terror attack that killed two Israelis, while at the same time stating that “violence against Palestinian citizens was unacceptable and has already led to one death and too much destruction.”
Israel has a special responsibility as an “occupying” power to protect Palestinian cities and to bring to justice those responsible for that violence, it said.
The European Union called on “authorities on all sides must intervene now to stop this endless cycle of violence and protect civilians in order to prevent further casualties.”
PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki called for international protection for the Palestinian people, noting that such attacks are done under the watchful eyes of the IDF.
“This is not the first terror campaign and it will not be the last. You know that Palestinians need protection but you refuse to offer it,” he said when he addressed the opening high-level portion of the 52nd meeting of the UN Human Rights Council. “The UN has a duty to do that,” he said.