A tweet from US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides drawing an equivalence between terrorists and victims of the terrorist attack near Eli on Tuesday drew rare criticism from Israeli Ambassador to the US Mike Herzog.
“Deeply concerned about the civilian deaths and injuries that have occurred in the West Bank these past 48 hours, including that of minors,” Nides tweeted several hours after the deadly attack in which two Palestinian terrorists murdered four Israelis.
“Praying for the families as they mourn the loss of loved ones, or tend to those injured.”
One terrorist was killed at the scene outside Eli, and the other was killed after he tried to escape.
Earlier this week, Israel raided the homes of terrorists in Jenin, killing five, some of whom were under 18 but were involved in terrorist activities.
“Any attempt of a so-called ‘balanced’ condemnation is misguided and disrespectful to the memory of the victims,” Herzog tweeted.
“In recent months, terror activities in the northern part of the West Bank have escalated as the Palestinian Authority has lost effective security control,” he wrote.
“Jenin, where the IDF recently operated, has become an Iranian terror stronghold, located just minutes away from Israeli population centers. Replete with hundreds of armed terrorists and laboratories working to produce lethal explosive devices and rockets, this ‘capital’ of terror has become the main springboard of terror attacks against Israelis... Israel will do whatever it takes to protect Israeli citizens and stop this wave of terror.”
Following the criticism, Nides wrote on Twitter: “I condemn in the strongest terms the senseless murder of four innocent Israelis today – my heart is with their grieving family members.”
Other ambassadors condemned the terror attack
Several ambassadors to Israel condemned the terrorist attack without mentioning the Jenin raid.
“I am horrified by the attack today near Eli that killed four Israelis,” UK Ambassador to Israel Neil Wigan wrote on Twitter. “Such terrorism has no justification. My deepest condolences to the families of those killed.”
Greek Ambassador to Israel Kyriakos Loukakis wrote: “Shocked by yet another appalling terror attack at a West Bank gas station. Sincere condolences to the families of the victims and wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured. Greece strongly condemns terrorism.”
Australian Ambassador to Israel Ralph King said he sends his “deepest condolences to the families of the Israelis murdered near Eli today and our best wishes to the wounded for a speedy recovery. We condemn all such terror attacks.”
The French Embassy said it condemned the terrorist attack and extended its condolences to the families while calling “to refrain from actions that could feed the cycle of violence.”
The UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process said he was “deeply alarmed by the continuing cycle of violence.”
Saudi Arabia only condemned the Jenin raid, despite releasing a statement after the Eli terrorist attack. It said Riyadh “is completely opposed to the serious violations of the Israeli occupation forces” and was sending condolences to Palestinian families.