The US State Department on Monday condemned two Palestinian terrorist attacks in which an Israeli woman was murdered and a second injured, saying Washington was “appalled” by “the barbaric acts of terrorism.”
Dafna Meir, a mother of six, was murdered in her West Bank home Sunday evening, and Michal Froman was moderately injured Monday in a stabbing in a West Bank settlement as well. Meir’s murderer remained on the loose as of Monday. Froman’s attacker was shot and injured by an armed civilian after fleeing the scene.
Meir and Froman were the latest victims of nearly four months of near daily Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians and security personnel that have left 25 Israelis and three foreigners dead, as well as 146 Palestinians, among them 101 assailants.
In a statement, spokesman John Kirby said the State Department “condemn[s] in the strongest possible terms the terrorist attacks over the past two days against Israeli civilians.”
“These horrific incidents underscore the importance of affirmative steps to restore calm, reduce tensions and bring an immediate end to the violence,” Kirby said.
Hours earlier, US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said Washington “condemns unequivocally these barbaric acts of terrorism” and offered American “support and sympathy to the bereaved families and the wounded, and assistance to families of American citizen victims of terror.”
“We are committed to do everything we can, and call on all others to do everything they can, to bring an end to the violence and help restore security and stability,” Shapiro said in remarks delivered at the Institute for National Security Studies’s annual conference.
Meir was buried in Jerusalem on Monday, a day after she was murdered in her home in the West Bank settlement of Otniel.
Shapiro was also sharply critical of Israel’s West Bank policies, accusing Israel of a double standard in comments that drew harsh opprobrium from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.
“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,” a statement from Netanyahu’s office read.
United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov also issued a statement Monday condemning the two West Bank stabbings.
“Nothing justifies the murder of a mother in front of her own children,” he said in a statement. “My thoughts are with the families and friends of all victims of violence.”
“I am increasingly alarmed by the continued attacks in the occupied West Bank that are taking place almost on a daily basis and call upon the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to take action to ensure that the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice,” he added.
He called on leaders from both sides “to work together against the spiral of violence and the targeting of civilians.”
“The volatility of the current situation only serves the hate-filled agendas of extremists on all sides. I encourage all parties to promote calm and refrain from inflammatory statements and retaliatory actions.”
Israeli officials have sometimes accused US and other international figures of being insensitive to Israel’s struggle with terror attacks and failing to properly condemn incidents and incitement.