U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides expressed sorrow on Tuesday for the four Israelis killed in the terror attack near Eli settlement, however, in the same tweet, he also stated he is deeply concerned about the Palestinians who were killed during the military operation that took place in Jenin on Monday.
"Deeply concerned about the civilian deaths and injuries that have occurred in the West Bank these past 48 hours, including that of minors. Praying for the families as they mourn the loss of loved ones, or tend to those injured," Nides tweeted. The tweet apparently was also meant to include the Palestinians killed and injured during clashes following an Israel Defense Forces raid in Jenin on Monday.
Mike Herzog, Israel's ambassador to the United States in Washington, immediately criticized his counterpart, tweeting: "Today, yet another heinous Palestinian terror attack claimed the lives of four innocent Israeli civilians. There is no justification whatsoever for the targeting and killing of innocent civilians. It must be unequivocally condemned. Any attempt of a so called 'balanced' condemnation is misguided and disrespectful to the memory of the victims."
Following the tweet by his counterpart, Nides published another tweet, this time referring only to the terror attack near Eli. "I condemn in the strongest terms the senseless murder of four innocent Israelis today – my heart is with their grieving family members."
Herzog's also tweeted: "In recent months, terror activities in the northern part of the West Bank have escalated as the Palestinian Authority has lost effective security control. Jenin, where the IDF recently operated, has become an Iranian terror stronghold, located just minutes away from Israeli population centers. Replete with hundreds of armed terrorists and laboratories working to produce lethal explosive devices and rockets, this 'capital' of terror has become the main springboard of terror attacks against Israelis.
"Israel will do whatever it takes to protect Israeli citizens and stop this wave of terror."
German Ambassador to Israel Steffen Seibert also addressed the terror attack and wrote: "Dreadful news out of the West Bank: I am appalled and sad to hear of the death of four Israelis in a terror attack near the settlement of Eli. My thoughts are with their families and with the injured who I hope will recover fully."
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and Ministry Director-General Ronen Levi instructed Israel's representatives worldwide to work on encouraging senior officials to issue strong condemnations of the terrorist attack , including United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
"The world cannot remain silent in the face of the horrifying scenes of today's heinous terrorist attack," Cohen said.
The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland also denounced the terror attack, tweeting: "Deeply alarmed by the continuing cycle of violence & appalled by the continued loss of civilian lives. I strongly condemn today’s shooting attack by a Palestinian perpetrator(s) in the West Bank which resulted in the killing of four Israelis. I urge all sides to refrain from steps that could further enflame an already volatile situation."
In response, Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan slammed Wennesland and wrote: "The UN’s empty condemnations mean nothing. The UN’s representatives make immoral and false comparisons between a democracy neutralizing terrorists posing imminent threats and vicious terrorists targeting innocent civilians. Calling it a 'cycle of violence' only gives a green light for the terrorists to continue. The UN does not demand accountability from Abu Mazen (Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas), who refuses to even condemn the murders, while he continues to pay salaries to terrorists and allow sick celebrations on his streets. This Palestinian behavior cannot be tolerated."
The deadly terror attack occurred on Tuesday afternoon, in the wake of a 12-hour military operation in Jenin a day earlier. During the operation, two wanted suspects linked to Hamas and Islamic Jihad were arrested. However, upon the withdrawal of the forces, an armored vehicle belonging to the IDF was hit by explosives planted on the road. Seven soldiers were injured in the incident, and six terrorists were killed, including an Islamic Jihad operative. The military predicted that there would be retaliatory attacks following the operation in Jenin and made high-level preparations for such scenarios in the Northern Command.
Hamas spokesperson Hazem Kasem linked the events and said in a statement after the terror attack that it was "a response to the crimes of the Occupation in the Jenin camp." According to him, "The storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque was not delayed, and this time the operation was in the settlement of Eli. Revolutionary forces in the West Bank strike everywhere and anywhere where Zionist occupation does not expect it. This ongoing revolution and this great escalation will continue and not cease unless the goals of our people are achieved."