US raises issue of settler violence

Lt.-Gen. Selva meets with Ayalon, alludes to burning of mosque.

jericho settler soldier arrest 311 (photo credit: AP)
jericho settler soldier arrest 311
(photo credit: AP)
A senior US official expressed concern on Wednesday with the violence of some settlers, and – alluding to the recent burning of a West Bank mosque attributed to settlers – said the US would like to see better results in Israeli law enforcement and prevention of these types of activities.
Lt.-Gen. Paul Selva, the US envoy appointed to monitor the implementation of the road map peace plan, met with Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon on Wednesday, and along with praise of Israel for significantly improving the freedom of access for Palestinians by removing numerous IDF roadblocks, also expressed concern about the settlement violence, including the uprooting of trees and the burning of Palestinian orchards.
Ayalon replied that Israel was a nation of law and was against any form of violence.
“If there are extreme cases, then they are the exception to the rule, and we call the perpetrators to task through condemnation and the due process of law,” he said.
Ayalon said that while this violence was the exception, “on the other hand we see a systematic campaign [in the Palestinian Authority] to delegitimize us through incitement, through naming streets after terrorists, through pronouncing death sentences on anyone who sells land to Jews, through the boycott of Israeli products and the international campaign against us.”
Those actions ran contrary to Palestinian commitments and underminedfaith among the Israeli public in future PA commitments, Ayalon said.He asked Selva, who comes to the region about every three months andthen reports back on implementation of road map obligations to USSecretary of State Hillary Clinton, to bring this issue up with the PA.
It is not clear whether Selva will continue to play a referee roleduring the proximity talks that are to resume next week with thearrival of US envoy George Mitchell to the region.
The US has said, however, that it will hold the parties responsible if they do anything to damage the talks.
The State Department on Sunday issued a statement saying that if eitherparty “takes significant actions during the proximity talks that wejudge would seriously undermine trust, we will respond to hold themaccountable and ensure that negotiations continue.”
US President Barack Obama reiterated that sentiment in a phone call he held with PA President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday.