US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro directed harsh criticism at Israel during a speech he gave at an Institute for National Security Studies conference in Tel Aviv on Monday.
In the aftermath of two terror attacks in as many days, Shapiro attacked Israel's policy towards the settlements and claimed that "too much vigilantism goes unchecked."
Shapiro said that the US is concerned by the ongoing building in the settlements and also criticized the Israeli authorities' investigation into Jewish terrorism in the West Bank.
"At times there seem to be two standards of adherence to the rule of law (in the West Bank): one for Israelis and another for Palestinians," Shapiro said. Nonetheless, he also noted that "the indictments in the Duma murders are an important demonstration of Israel’s commitment to prosecute acts of terror."
Shapiro began his speech by addressing the current wave of terror. "Like so many Israelis, I have had to attend funerals, made shiva calls, and paid visits to hospitals.
"Like all Israelis, I have worried about friends and neighbors, colleagues and family members, against the backdrop of this latest wave of terrorism. Among the victims have been American citizens," Shapiro said.
"Yesterday, a young mother of six, Dafna Meir, may her memory be blessed, was brutally murdered in her home as she fought to protect her children from a Palestinian terrorist armed with a knife.
"And today, a young pregnant woman was viciously stabbed and badly wounded by another terrorist," Shapiro continued.
"The United States condemns unequivocally these barbaric acts of terrorism…We offer support and sympathy to the bereaved families and the wounded…and 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," he added.
Shapiro, who followed IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot's speech, also addressed the lifting of sanctions against Iran. "While the US and Israeli governments differed on the approach in this agreement, our objectives were – and remain – the same: to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. To us, that is part and parcel of our commitment to Israel’s security.
"Two-thirds of Iran’s 19,000 centrifuges, including the disconnection of every single nuclear enrichment centrifuge at the Fordow facility, have been removed," Shapiro continued. "Iran’s 'breakout' time has now been extended significantly, from two-to-three months, to well over a year."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office stated that "the ambassador's words, on a day when a mother of six is buried and a day when a pregnant woman is stabbed, are unacceptable and incorrect. Israel enforces the law against Israelis and against Palestinians. It is the Palestinian Authority who is responsible for the political deadlock and which continues to incite and refuses to negotiate.