Shapiro: Israel has two standards of adherence to rule of law in the West Bank
Earlier this month, U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, criticized Israel’s settlement policies and suggested Israel employs “two standards” of law in the West Bank, during his speech at the ninth annual International Conference of the Institute of National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.
Specifically, Shapiro stated that, “Too much Israeli vigilantism in the West Bank goes on unchecked,” adding that “there is a lack of thorough investigations… at times it seems Israel has two standards of adherence to rule of law in the West Bank – one for Israelis and one for Palestinians.”
The Israeli Prime Minister’s office promptly responded to these allegations in a statement:
“The words of the ambassador, on a day in which a murdered mother of six is buried and on a day in which a pregnant woman is stabbed — are unacceptable and incorrect. Israel enforces the law for Israelis and Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority is the one responsible for the diplomatic freeze, and continues to incite and refuse talks.”
The following day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Shapiro held a “friendly” meeting, that seemed to end positively. Shapiro followed the meeting up with an apology for the timing of his remarks, yet reiterated that the, “The issues [he] raised aren’t new,” and still concern and perplex the U.S. administration.
The U.S. has long held that a two-state solution is the only option for Israel and Palestine, and that the illegal settlements (with over 400,000 settlers) are counter-productive to this. However, the U.S. has begun to increasingly question Israel’s intentions and commitment to these goals.
Just this month, Israel’s Defense minister approved an expansion of a settlement block. And as PiA reported last month, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer sent U.S. government officials holiday gifts exclusively produced in the illegal settlements. These recent actionsraise “honest questions about Israel’s long-term intentions,” Shapiro stated.
It is all the more significant considering Shapiro, “who tends to publicly highlight the strengths of the US-Israel relationship, would not have delivered the strikingly critical remarks Monday without the support and/or direction of the administration in DC,” according to Israeli analysts.