U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro leveled some harsh criticism at the country during a security conference in Tel Aviv, saying that Israel has “two standards of adherence to the rule of law: one for Israelis and another for Palestinians.” This sort of public admonishment is nearly unheard of in current American-Israeli relations.
The comment came after Shapiro praised Israel’s progress in an investigation regarding a recent West Bank “Jewish terror” attack that resulted in a Palestinian infant being burned to death. A statement that he qualified by adding that “too much Israeli vigilantism in the West Bank goes on unchecked,” which he attributes to Israel’s double standard and its “lack of thorough investigations.”
Shapiro added that the two-state solution is the only way to prevent Israel from turning into a bi-national state, and said a way must be found to preserve its viability. He noted that the American administration is “concerned and perplexed” in wake of the Israeli government’s policy on the settlements, “which raise questions about Israeli intentions.”
The West Bank sees Palestinians governed by an entirely different set of laws than their Israeli counterparts, with the former being subject to Israeli military law and the latter to Israeli civil law. Which explains why Prime Minister Netanyahu was able to say something like this in response:
Israel applies the law to Israelis and Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority is responsible for the freeze in the political process and continues to incite while refusing to negotiate.
Both are held to Israeli law, sure—they’re just two entirely different sets of laws, or what’s otherwise known as apartheid. And the fact that Shapiro was willing to call Israel out (even if in not so many words) is, at the very least, a welcome first step.