UN envoy summoned to Foreign Ministry over calling terror attack ‘scuffle’

The Foreign Ministry called Wennesland's comments a "total distortion of reality."

United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The Foreign Ministry summoned UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland for clarifications on Tuesday, after he downplayed a terrorist attack and called on the police officer who foiled it to be investigated.

Palestinian man Ammar Mifleh and two other men attempted to carjack and Israeli couple on Friday. Having failed that, they tried to grab an Israeli police officer’s rifle, stabbing him, which led the officer to shoot Mifleh dead. The stabbing and shooting can be seen clearly on security camera video footage.

Wennesland tweeted soon after the attack that he was “horrified by today’s killing of a Palestinian man, Ammar Mifleh, during a scuffle with an Israeli soldier near Huwarra in the [occupied] West Bank. My heartfelt condolences to his bereaved family. Such incidents must be fully and promptly investigated and those responsible held accountable."

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon tweeted the following day that Wennesland's remarks are "a total distortion of reality."

"This incident is a terror attack, in which an Israeli policeman was stabbed in his face and the life of another police officer was threatened and consequently he shot his assailant. This is NOT a 'scuffle.' this is a terror attack!" Nahshon wrote.

 Palestinians confront Israeli soldiers who stormed Huwara, Israeli-occupied West Bank, May 26, 2022.  (credit: RANEEN SAWAFTA/ REUTERS) Palestinians confront Israeli soldiers who stormed Huwara, Israeli-occupied West Bank, May 26, 2022. (credit: RANEEN SAWAFTA/ REUTERS)

A senior Foreign Ministry official rebuked Wennesland, and Israel considered further steps against the envoy.

Wennesland struggled to get meetings with top Foreign Ministry and Prime Minister’s Office officials since his appointment in 2020, in what can be viewed as a quiet snub in response to similar past statements, though both ministries denied it.

Additional UN official expresses sympathy for terrorism

Another UN official expressed sympathy for terrorist attacks on Israel last week.

UN Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories Francesca Albanese recently addressed a Hamas conference in Gaza last Monday, in which she said: "You have a right to resist this occupation...Israel says 'resistance equals terrorism,' but an occupation requires violence and generates violence."

The Foreign Ministry considered banning her from the West Bank, as Israel has done for her predecessors, Michael Lynk and Richard Falk, Yediot Aharonot reported.

Nahshon said that “special rapporteurs, like all other UN workers must follow the UN’s regular rules, including that official entry to a country requires the appropriate visa. The rapporteur asked to enter without a visa, and it was made clear to her that this is prohibited and violates the UN’s rules.”