US Ambassador chided by Israel for concern over killing of Palestinians – Middle East Monitor

US Ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, was chided by his Israeli counterpart into making a clarification after expressing concerns over the death of Palestinians during the latest escalation of violence in the occupied West Bank. Five Palestinians were killed during an Israeli military offensive in the Jenin refugee camp, and 91 others were wounded, 23 of them critically. Two of the wounded have since died in hospital, including 15-year-old Sadeel Ghassan Turkman, whose death was announced this morning.

Palestinians who witnessed the Israeli army raid on Monday likened it to a “war“. Residents woke up to heavy gunfire which lasted for ten hours. According to eyewitnesses and images shared on social media in the area, an Israeli Apache attack helicopter targeted the Munzir Mosque in Jenin. A day after Israel’s raid, at least four Israeli settlers were killed and four others were injured in a shooting attack in the occupied territory.

Nides commented on the violence using his official twitter account, where he appeared to humanise Palestinian victims. “Deeply concerned about the civilian deaths and injuries that have occurred in the West Bank these past 48 hours, including that of minors,” said the US Ambassador. “Praying for the families as they mourn the loss of loved ones, or tend to those injured.”

Reacting to Nides’ comment, Israel’s Ambassador to the US Michael Herzog issued a rare criticism of his American counterpart. “Any attempt of a so called ‘balanced’ condemnation is misguided and disrespectful to the memory of the victims,” said Herzog. That message was circulated widely in Israeli media and drew extensive criticism on social media. “Unfortunate statement from Israel’s best friend and ally,” Abe Foxman, the former national director of the Anti-Defamation League, is reported as saying in reply to Nides. “It borders on moral equivalency!”

READ: Eyewitnesses call Israel military raid on West Bank a ‘war’

Just after Herzog’s statement was issued, Nides published a second tweet focused solely on the Israeli victims. “I condemn in the strongest terms the senseless murder of four innocent Israelis today — my heart is with their grieving family members,” he wrote. All of Israel’s settlers and the settlements in which they live are illegal under international law.

The Israeli raid in Jenin drew a wave of condemnations from several countries, including, France, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and Turkiye, as well as the EU. Tensions have been running high across the Occupied West Bank in recent months amid repeated Israeli raids in Palestinian towns.

The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health has pointed out that 174 Palestinians have been killed by Israel in the occupied territories since the start of the year. That’s an average of just over one person killed every day since 1 January. At least 21 Israelis have been killed in separate incidents during the same period.

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