Seven Israeli Jews lie dead. Seventy more are wounded. These attacks come from Palestinians, most of them using knives; a few using guns and cars. The attacks have been prompted in part by Islamic preachers on the West Bank and by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. While this violence pales in comparison with the migrant crisis caused by the Syrian Civil War, the State Department seems to be focused on Israel.
John Kerry incited outrage when he hinted that the attacks were the result of Jews building homes in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria: “There’s been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years. And there’s an increase in the violence because there’s this frustration growing.”
Apparently it makes sense to try and kill people when they move into their ancestors’ homeland.
John Kirby, State Department spokesman, made things worse on Wednesday during a press briefing when he remained ambivalent towards the situation. Kirby was asked if it is “the Administration’s view that settlement activity is, in fact, to blame for or is responsible for the current surge in attacks that we’re all seeing?”
He responded, without actually answering the question, saying that the Secretary remains “consistent” in trying not to “affix blame for the recent violence too particularly.” According to Kirby, John Kerry is more concerned with the “challenges that are posed on both sides by this absence of progress towards a two-state solution.”
Apparently the Administration believes that it’s wrong to point fingers when dozens of murders occur.
Mr. Kirby was then asked about the instance in Dimona, in which an Israeli attacked several Arabs as revenge for the previous attacks against Jews. “I think you’re going to ask me what – do we consider it an act of terrorism. And we do,” said Kirby. Kirby later specified, “I would say certainly individuals on both sides of this divide are – have proven capable of and in our view guilty of acts of terror.”
Seems like Kirby is on par with Kerry in remaining “consistent.”
They went on to speak about Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, with Kirby explaining that “we want to see the status quo restored, the status quo arrangement there on Harm al-Sharif and the Temple Mount, and for both sides to take actions to deescalate the tensions.”
When asked if the Administration believes the status quo has been broken, Kirby responded: “Well, certainly, the status quo has not been observed, which has led to a lot of violence.” Kirby later issued a clarification on Twitter, saying that he “did not intend to suggest that status quo at Temple Mount/Haram Al-Sharif has been broken.”
This apology did nothing to halt Jerusalem’s outrage. “The comments by the U.S. State Department spokesman are so crazy, deceitful, and baseless, that I expect President Obama and US Secretary of State Kerry to distance themselves from them, and to clarify the US position today,” said Gilad Erdan, Public Security Minister.