U.S. Envoy Shapiro 'Regrets' Timing of Comments on Israeli Double Standard in West Bank

Dan Shapiro apologizes if comments he made on the day that Otniel mom was buried offended her family.

United States Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) conference in Tel Aviv. January 18, 2016.
Chen Galili

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro apologized on Monday for the timing of his critical comments against Israeli authorities last week, in which he suggested that Israel has a legal double standard when it comes to investigating crimes in the West Bank.

In his speech at at the Institute for National Security Studies conference in Tel Aviv a week ago, Shapiro said that "too much Israeli vigilantism in the West Bank goes on unchecked," adding that "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."

His remarks came on the day of the funeral of Dafna Meir, who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian in the Otniel settlement, and on the day of another stabbing attack in Tekoa, in which Michal Froman was wounded.

Shapiro told Army Radio on Monday that he thinks "the timing [of his comments] wasn't ideal."

"I began with a condemnation of the attacks in Otniel and Tekoa," he said.  "There was only a sentence or two [in my comments] that caused controversy. But if it has, god forbid, hurt the Meir family or other mourners then I sincerely regret it."

Shapiro also noted that he had spoken with the husband of the late Dafna Meir after the speech last week and reiterated that the U.S. administration was seeking to promote "peace and security, while keeping the possibility of reaching a two-state solution in the future."

When asked about his criticism concerning Israeli investigations in cases of violence against Palestinians, Shapiro praised Israel for the arrest of the Duma arsonists, but added: "we encourage Israel to continue investigating all other cases of violence. It is of the utmost importance to show a commitment to the rule of law."