Timing is everything – as diplomats are supposed to know. U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro admitted Monday in an interview on Galei Tzahal Army Radio that his timing was off last week when he criticized Israeli policy.
Shapiro’s diplomatic assault came on the same day two young Israeli mothers were stabbed – one murdered – in attacks by teenage Arab terrorists from the Palestinian Authority.
The envoy from Washington told the Institute for National Security Studies that day the Israeli government has two legal standards – one for Israeli citizens and the other for PA Arabs.
“I understand my timing was not ideal,” Shapiro told Army Radio on Monday (Jan. 25).
He made the statements on the day Daphna Meir, a 39-year-old mother of six, was laid to rest after being stabbed to death in her own home by a 16-year-old Arab from a nearby village. Three of her children arrived just in time to see the terrorist trying unsuccessfully to pull his bloodied knife out of their mother’s body. Her oldest daughter’s screams drove him to flee.
“I began with condemnations of the terror attacks in Otniel and Tekoa. There were only one or two controversial sentences, and if it hurt the Meir family or those mourning [Daphna], or course I regret that.”
That same day, a 30-year-old pregnant woman was stabbed in the shoulder and the lung by in the eastern Gush Etzion community of Tekoa. Michal Froman is the daughter-in-law of the late rabbi of the town, who was known for his emphasis on need for coexistence with their Arab neighbors. She, too, supports that view and is unwilling to blame her teenage Arab attacker, having told media he appeared “confused… lost.” Froman told media from her bed in the hospital that she and her husband will continue her father-in-law’s work.
As for his charge that Israel holds a legal double standard, Shapiro maintained he praised the government for its arrests and convictions in the Duma case.
Israel carried out a mammoth sweep of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, arresting dozens of hilltop youth and holding them under administrative detention. Several later charged they were tortured by Shin Bet operatives in order to extract “confessions.”
Months later, one adult and a minor were allegedly indicted in connection with the case but most of the details still remain under a strict gag order.
“We encourage Israel to continue all investigations of different violent incidents, because it’s very important to show commitment to the rule of law,” he said.
Shapiro admitted that the prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority – at least in the form of the much-vaunted “two-state solution” are fast fading.
He did not mention the fact that since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu entered office in 2009, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas spent a grand total of six hours in direct talks with Israel’s leader – despite his rants about wanting to work out their differences.
“We are in a period when there may not be negotiations in the near future,” he said, “so we are trying to find steps on both sides to advance peace and security for Israel and Palestinians alike, and to preserve the possibility of two states.”
Hana Levi Julian