State Department spokesperson Ned Price urges ‘all parties’ to ‘desist from actions that inflame tensions.’
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
The U.S. expressed “deep concern” Wednesday over the high number of Palestinian casualties in the day’s IDF arrest raid into Nablus (Shechem) and asked “all parties” to lower the level of tension.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price focused on the possible number of civilian dead and injured without mentioning the fact that the IDF troops had come under heavy fire when trying to arrest three known terrorists.
“Today in Nablus, at least 10 Palestinians, including both militants and civilian bystanders, were killed, and over 100 injured during an Israel Defense Forces counter-terrorism operation,” he said in his daily briefing to reporters. “We wish a speedy recovery to those injured and our hearts go out to the families of the innocent bystanders who were killed today.”
Emphasizing that the administration “recognizes the very real security concerns facing Israel,” Price then immediately added, “At the same time, we are deeply concerned by a large number of injuries and the loss of civilian lives.”
The IDF is known for the care it takes in trying to prevent civilian casualties, having called off whole bombing operations if its pilots see innocent bystanders in the vicinity of their target, and refraining from shooting in a firefight.
The military released a video from the Nablus raid in which a soldier tells his commander that although he has a terrorist in his sights, he could not open fire because he saw a child behind the gunman.
The U.S. is also “deeply concerned that the impact of today’s raid could set back efforts aimed at restoring calm for both Israelis and Palestinians,” Price continued, calling on “all parties to desist from actions that inflame tensions.”
His list of deleterious activities was heavily weighted against Israel, giving as examples “incitement to violence, evictions of families from their homes, demolitions, settlement advancements and the legalization of outposts.”
Following harsh statements by both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, several Arab countries condemned Israel without acknowledging its security fears as the U.S. did, including those at peace with the Jewish state.
In its official press release, the Egyptian government “condemned the Israeli raid” that it said, contrary to Palestinian reports, “left dozens of residents dead.” Cairo is “greatly concerned about the continued and dangerous escalation in the occupied Palestinian territories,” which increases the complexity of the situation “by the day and undermines efforts to restore calm between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.”
Its Jordanian counterpart’s statement said that Amman has “consistently condemned Israeli incursions into occupied Palestinian cities, including today’s raid in Nablus,” and called for all such campaigns to be halted. The foreign ministry added that it was working “intensively with partners” to de-escalate the situation.
The UAE condemned the IDF’s “storming” of Nablus and called on Israel alone “to reduce escalation and avoid steps that exacerbate tension and instability in the region.” The statement stressed the importance of supporting “all efforts” to advance the peace process, as well as “putting an end to illegal practices that threaten reaching a two-state solution and establishing an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
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