US Vice President Joe Biden condemned Palestinian terrorism and PA leader Mahmoud Abbas’ failure to condemn such heinous acts on yet another terror-filled day.
Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday criticized the Palestinian leadership for its “failure to condemn” a stabbing spree that killed an American student and war veteran the day before, after Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas’ party posted a statement online praising the murderer.
The stabbing spree took place Tuesday near the seaside city of Jaffa, where Biden was meeting nearby with Israel’s former president. Biden said his wife and grandchildren were having dinner on the beach not far from the scene of the Palestinian attack, which wounded a dozen Israeli civilians.
Abbas’ Fatah party posted a cartoon on its Twitter account of a hand holding a knife over a map of Israel, and calling the Palestinian terrorist from Tuesday’s attack a “hero” and “martyr.”
In a joint press conference with Biden in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned Fatah’s glorification of the terrorist.
Both leaders spoke highly of the American victim, Taylor Force, a 28-year-old MBA student at Vanderbilt University and a West Point graduate who served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Let me say in no uncertain terms: The United States of America condemns these acts and condemns the failure to condemn these acts. This cannot become an accepted modus operandi,” Biden said. “The kind of violence we saw yesterday, the failure to condemn it, the rhetoric that incites that violence, the retribution that it generates, has to stop.”
“This cannot be viewed by civilized leaders as an appropriate way in which to behave,” he continued. “It is just not tolerable in the 21st century. They’re targeting innocent civilians, mothers, pregnant women, teenagers, grandfathers, American citizens. There can be no justification for this hateful violence and the United States stands firmly behind Israel when it defends itself, as we are defending ourselves at this moment as well.”
The US vice president spoke warmly of his decades-long relationship with Netanyahu, and reemphasized American’s commitment to Israel’s security.
Saying “the last 24 hours have been very difficult for Israel,” Netanyahu said he “appreciated” Biden’s “strong condemnation of terrorism.”
“Nothing justifies these attacks. But unfortunately President Abbas has not only refused to condemn these terrorist attacks, his Fatah party actually praised the murderer of this American citizen as a Palestinian martyr and a hero. This is wrong. And this failure to condemn terrorism should be condemned itself by everybody in the international community,” the Israeli premier said.
He called on “all civilized societies” to stand together in the fight of terrorism.
Biden is in Israel for a two-day visit as part of a regional tour of the Mideast. He is meeting both Israeli and Palestinian leaders. There were speculations he would try to revive the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, but Biden said, “I didn’t come with a plan. I just came to speak with a friend,” referring to Netanyahu.
“Mr. Vice President should start from where the real crime is, which is the Israeli occupation and Israeli colonial settlement, because the beginning is here for those who want peace in the Middle East,” a senior Palestinian official and an Abbas aide, Nabil Shaath, retorted in a statement to The Associated Press.
Shortly before the two leaders met in Jerusalem, two Palestinian terrorists carried out shootings in the city before police shot and killed them. A Palestinian man was seriously wounded in the shootout.
US ‘Will Act” if Iran Breaks Deal
On the nuclear deal with Iran, Biden said that if Iran breaks the terms of the nuclear deal “we will act.”
His warning came shortly after Iran announced that it had test-fired two ballistic missiles with the phrase “Israel must be wiped out” written in Hebrew on them.
The US State Department says it plans to bring a report on another missile launch before the United Nations Security Council (USNC).
Israel strongly opposed last year’s nuclear deal with Iran. Biden looked to assuage its fears by saying “a nuclear-armed Iran is an absolutely unacceptable threat to Israel, to the region and the United States.” He then reiterated: “If in fact they break the deal, we will act.”
By: AP and United with Israel Staff