update desk

US State Department spokesman mute on Israeli ‘war crimes’ accusation

Ned Price also failed to refute a reporter’s claim that an Israeli soldier shot an unarmed Palestinian at “point blank range,” when in fact the officer fired at a terrorist in the process of attacking him.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price briefs reporters in Washington, May 11, 2021. Credit: U.S. State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price briefs reporters in Washington, May 11, 2021. Credit: U.S. State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price on Tuesday failed to push back on a reporter’s accusation that Israel was perpetrating “war crimes” against the Palestinians.

“I mean, what we have seen in the past couple weeks is really an uptick of Israeli aggression against the Palestinians. We see war crimes being committed on—in front of everybody. So that would not bother the United States of America, despite the fact that these guys [Religious Zionism Party head Bezalel Smotrich and Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben-Gvir] have such a long rap sheet?” a reporter asked Price during the daily press briefing.

Answered Price: “Said, whether it—whether the question is government formation or any other hypothetical, we just don’t entertain those types of questions. It doesn’t do us any good to comment on something that may or may not come to pass. When it comes to governments that haven’t been formed, I’ve been asked this question from this podium for any number of democratic countries around the world—how, whether, will we work with various individuals around the world—and our answer’s always the same. We are going to judge a government on how it governs, once it is in place—on the policies that it pursues.”

Price also failed to correct the reporter’s assertion in a follow-up question that an Israeli policeman had shot “at point blank an unarmed Palestinian,” when in fact the officer in question had fired on a terrorist in the process of attacking him.

On Friday, Ammar Mifleh had attempted to break into the vehicle of an off-duty IDF officer, who shot and wounded him. The terrorist then spotted a Border Police team patrolling the area in Hurawa and attacked them, wounding one. The company commander charged the assailant and a struggle ensued. Mifleh attempted to snatch the officer’s firearm, at which point the officer shot and killed him.

“We are deeply concerned by the intensifying violence that we’ve seen in recent weeks in the West Bank. We re-emphasize the need for all parties to do everything in their power to de-escalate the situation. We believe that it’s vital that the parties themselves take urgent action to prevent the even greater loss of life within the West Bank, within Israel more broadly,” Price responded to the reporter’s claim.

Meanwhile, Tor Wennesland, the U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, tweeted on Friday in support of the terrorist: “Horrified by today’s killing of a Palestinian man, Ammar Mifleh, during a scuffle with an Israeli soldier near Huwarra in the o. [occupied] West Bank. My heartfelt condolences to his bereaved family. Such incidents must be fully and promptly investigated, and those responsible held accountable.”

Responding to the comments, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Saturday praised the Border Police officer that neutralized the terrorist, and called out Wennesland’s statement.

“I fully condemn the attempts to present the incident in a false and manipulative manner, and the statement by the U.N. envoy to the Middle East against the officer, who functioned with determination and professionalism,” said Gantz.

“The officer who neutralized the terrorist and all IDF and Border Police combat personnel have full backing to continue to act against terrorism and to preserve the security of Israeli citizens,” he added.

Border Police chief Cmdr. Amir Cohen said on Friday that the officer’s swift action had prevented a “significant” attack on civilians.

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war. JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you. The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support? Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Topics
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates