The Biden administration backed Israel’s right to conduct West Bank military operations after an IDF raid in Jenin killed six Palestinians, including a Hamas gunman believed to have fatally shot two Israeli brothers in Huwara last week.
“We understand the IDF was pursuing a terrorist who murdered two Israeli civilians in what can only be described as a horrific attack last month,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Tuesday.
The Palestinian Authority had called on the Biden administration to pressure Israel to halt its military raids into its cities, such as the one that took place on Tuesday. The IDF has argued that these operations are necessary to route out terror cells.
“The crime committed by the occupation forces reaffirms the Israeli government's intention to thwart all regional and international efforts aimed at stopping all unilateral actions, which the Israeli side insists on continuing,” PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said in a statement published by Palestinian news agency WAFA.
“Israel has the legitimate right to defend its people and its territory against all forms of aggression including those from terrorist groups.”State Department spokesman Ned Price
Price, however, spoke in support of the Jewish state explaining that “Israel has the legitimate right to defend its people and its territory against all forms of aggression including those from terrorist groups.”
“We have seen far too many vivid illustrations of the terrorist threat that Israel faces including in recent days,” he said.
“We remain deeply concerned by the sharp rise in violence in the West Bank and we continue to urge the parties to take immediate steps to prevent the further loss of life,” he said. Price noted that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken passed that same message to Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer when he met with them in Washington on Monday.
State Dept. condemns renewed Huwara settler violence
Price, however, also took issue with settler vigilante attacks against Huwara. He had denounced as “disgusting” the attack against Huwara on February 26, in which a Palestinian man was killed and dozens of homes and vehicles were torched, and condemned the additional settler violence in Huwara this week.
“We are aware of reports of another attack on Huwara by settlers yesterday and that comes just one week after the completely unacceptable attacks and torching of property in the same village. We are extremely concerned by these events and the continuing violence in Israel and the West Bank,” he said.
“Accountability and justice should be pursued with equal rigor in all cases of extremists violence and equal resources dedicated to preventing such attacks and to bring those responsible for them to justice,” he said.