The murder of an Israeli father of six in a drive-by shooting Tuesday night in the West Bank led the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, to issue an unusual statement.
“An Israeli father of six was killed last night in cold blood by Palestinian terrorists,” Friedman wrote on Twitter on Wednesday morning. “Hamas praises the killers and PA laws will provide them financial rewards. Look no further to why there is no peace.”
While the United States has condemned actions by parties on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is rare for a U.S. official to place the blame for lack of peace squarely on one side.
The Palestinian Authority said in a statement in response that “the American ambassador in Tel Aviv is known for his predetermined positions, which reflect a total bias in favor of the occupation and settlement.”
Unlike past ambassadors to Israel, Friedman was a prominent right-wing supporter of the Jewish state before he took office.
Last month, the State Department was forced to deny reports that Friedman had asked the agency to stop using the word “occupation” when referring to Israeli activities in the West Bank. Friedman has also (incorrectly) claimed that Israel only occupies two percent of the West Bank, and has ventured into the disputed territory far more often than his predecessors.