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US gov’t has ‘faith in the system’ that Israel will prosecute killers of Palestinian child– why?

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The American government expressed “confidence” and “faith in the system” that Israel will prosecute the murderers of Ali Sa’ed Dabwasha last night in the occupied village of Duma, the State Department said today.

It must be “faith” because there’s no evidence for it: the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem documents that Israeli government has a policy of NOT enforcing the law against Jewish settlers; and Jewish settlers are suspected in the murder. In the last three years, Israelis have set fire to nine Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank; and no one has ever been charged. So why does the U.S. government have “faith in the system” when it comes to the murder last night of Ali Saed Dabwasha?

From today’s State Department briefing:

QUESTION: Seeing how there is an uptick now in these settler attacks against Palestinians and their property and so on and with a price tag and all that, I wonder if the Department is looking into any steps it can take to apply U.S. anti-terror laws under its purview to combat these sorts of things. Are you?

MR TONER: Well, look, as the statement said, we’ve obviously condemned this attack. We welcome the fact that Prime Minister Netanyahu did order Israel’s security forces to use all means at their disposal to apprehend the murderers of what he called an act of terrorism and to bring them to justice, and we obviously urge all sides in this moment to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions.

But Israel is – the Government of Israel is investigating the incident and has expressed its firm commitment to pursuing the perpetrators of this attack, so we’ll let this process play out.

QUESTION: Do you have confidence in the Israeli Government doing that?

MR TONER: Certainly.

QUESTION: Do you have evidence that they have done that in the past? For instance, in the case of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who was burned alive last year, there have been no convictions up to now —

MR TONER: And we’ve spoken about this before. We have confidence – Israel is a vibrant, strong democracy with strong institutions and a very strong legal system, so yes, we have confidence in it.

QUESTION: If you were to be asked on evidence where actually the Israelis held these terrorists accountable and put them in prison, can you cite any?

MR TONER: Not off the top of my head, but we have faith in the system.

QUESTION: Okay, all right. But seeing that the violence is really escalating – today they just killed a 17-year-old boy in the Qalandia refugee camp, 17-year-old Hani al-Kasbah. I mean, this is – obviously all these things are a byproduct of continued settlement activity, byproduct of the continued occupation and so on. When are you going to put some U.S. credibility behind your statements? I mean, your concern, your condemnation, these statements that we are seeing stronger and stronger and really put an end to, let’s say, at least to aiding this process?

MR TONER: Well, I mean, we’ve been pretty vocal in the last days about our – regarding settlements. We put out a statement the other day. We continue to believe strongly that achieving a two-state solution remains in the best – remains the best path forward for Israel’s long-term security, and frankly, we make that point all the time to the Israeli Government both publicly and privately. We continue to look to both the new Israeli Government as well as the Palestinians to demonstrate through policies and actions a genuine commitment to a two-state solution. Our policy on settlements is very clear and we continue to convey those concerns both publicly and privately.

QUESTION: I understand. But when the Palestinians do unilateral actions, for instance, you can cut off aid and you have done so in the past. When the Israelis do unilateral action, what action do you actually – physical action – do you take against the Israelis?

MR TONER: Well, again, we speak to the Israelis on a constant basis. Obviously, it’s a very strong and deep bilateral relationship, but where we disagree we convey our disagreement to them and we’re very adamant about the fact that, as I said, we want to see a genuine commitment to a two-state solution and we want to see actions and, frankly, policies that reflect that commitment on the side both of the Israel – Israel and the Palestinians.

QUESTION: And I promise this is my final question on this.

MR TONER: It’s okay, no worries.

QUESTION: So they are going to – the Palestinians said they will go before the ICC on this issue. Would you oppose their efforts in that regard?

MR TONER: I’m not going to speak it. You know our policy regarding the ICC.

B’Tselem’s report on the child’s killing says there is no basis for that faith:

[It is Israeli] authorities’ policy to avoid enforcing the law on Israelis who harm Palestinians and their property. This policy creates impunity for hate crimes, and encourages assailants to continue, leading to this morning’s horrific result.

According to B’Tselem statistics, in the past three years since August 2012, Israeli civilians set fire to nine Palestinian homes in the West Bank. Additionally, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a Palestinian taxi, severely burning the family on board. No one was charged in any of these cases. The ISA [Israel Security Agency] suspects two were related to the perpetrators of June’s arson attack on the Church of the Loaves and Fishes, but it is doubtful these cases would have been solved independently of the effort put into the church arson inside Israel.

In recent years, Israeli civilians set fire to dozens of Palestinian homes, mosques, businesses, agricultural land and vehicles in the West Bank. The vast majority of these cases were never solved, and in many of them the Israeli Police did not even bother take elementary investigative actions.

The fact that the Samaria and Judea (SHAI) Police and other law enforcement bodies have failed to solve these attacks isn’t fate. Rather, it is the result of a policy expressed throughout all levels of the law enforcement system, in particular the political echelons, up to and including the Prime Minister.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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28 Responses

  1. chocopie on July 31, 2015, 11:21 pm

    We’ve spoken about this before…we’ve been pretty vocal…we put out a statement the other day…we continue to believe strongly…we make that point all the time…our policy on settlements is very clear…we continue to convey those concerns…we speak to the Israelis on a constant basis…we convey our disagreement…we’re very adamant…

  2. Citizen on August 1, 2015, 12:45 am

    Typical. Wonder who wrote up Toner’s answer talking boilerplate?

  3. echinococcus on August 1, 2015, 1:06 am

    Well, the US Gov is not lacking faith in the system that allows, nay requires the arrest and trial of criminals against humanity Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Pearle, Rumsfeld, Feith, Kagan, Obama, Clinton II, Holder, Petraeus, etc. etc. either.

  4. talknic on August 1, 2015, 3:23 am

    It’s sooooooooooooooo pathetic

    • bintbiba on August 1, 2015, 4:35 am

      Hey, just look at that photo above …

      All I see is a defeated demoralised and morally subjugated human being !

      @ talknic
      “It’s sooooooooooooooo pathetic”

  5. Bornajoo on August 1, 2015, 5:35 am

    “The fact that the Samaria and Judea (SHAI) Police and other law enforcement bodies have failed to solve these attacks isn’t fate. Rather, it is the result of a policy expressed throughout all levels of the law enforcement system, in particular the political echelons, up to and including the Prime Minister.”


    And these answers from Mr Toner sum up exactly why these terrorists (and I include the GOI in that group) can and will continue to be able to do whatever they want with total impunity. It’s because they are enabled and supported by the world’s greatest superpower. The American government is just as responsible for every crime of the Occupation as the GOI which could never happen without their military, financial and political support including the Holy Grail of support: The veto

    • just on August 1, 2015, 7:59 am

      Thanks, Bornajoo.

      “we have faith in the system.”

      I was just thinking that perhaps we need to look at this another way:

      We like it, we support it, this is the way it’s supposed to be! We really support settlements and settlers. We don’t care about Palestinians. “Israel is a vibrant, strong democracy with strong institutions and a very strong legal system, so yes, we have confidence in it.” They decide who and what they want to prosecute under their current vibrant system of apartheid and Occupation. Yes, we talk all the time and they tell us that they will continue with their pogroms and programs.

      Never once did Toner consider the possibility of applying US anti- terror laws…

      So the US continues to be worse than complicit and riddled with hypocrisy.

  6. RobertHenryEller on August 1, 2015, 7:33 am

    Dear Mr. Mark Toner, State Department spokesperson:

    So, Mr. Toner, what’s it like to get up in front of the American flag and speak to reporters through a mouth full of Zionist horse manure?

    I look forward to your response, Mr. Toner. Thank you.

  7. a blah chick on August 1, 2015, 9:01 am

    I think Mr Toner should to sporting loud jackets like that other spokesperson used to do. At least we’d have something else to talk about other than the drivel coming out of his mouth.

  8. Citizen on August 1, 2015, 9:07 am

    Isn’t it time to realize that the biggest strength in US today is Oprah and The View? Bomb Iran or not, plight of Palestinians or not, foreign aid to Israel or not, none of that is ever discussed in those avenues. This means, the US will not send troops to fight for Israel in Iran. Why? US females wouldn’t agree to do so. The US troops and their families are wasted, four assignments to the MIddle East will do that to you. US troops won the Vietnam war militarily, but it lost domestically. A war on Iran, even if supporting Israel, is not wanted by US soccer moms. Bombing Iran without troops on the ground will do nothing but delay Iran’s nuke program for a few years, and make Iran certain they need the bomb. Please address this POV, which I’ve never seen on MW.

    • Mooser on August 1, 2015, 1:31 pm

      “This means, the US will not send troops to fight for Israel in Iran. Why? US females wouldn’t agree to do so.”

      If this is true, it is indeed an Electrafying development in US politics!

      • just on August 1, 2015, 1:56 pm

        lol, Mooser!

      • turveyd on August 1, 2015, 4:33 pm

        Heh heh. Or Lysistrafying….

  9. Diane Mason on August 1, 2015, 9:52 am

    This has been going on way longer than the price tag campaign.

    Perhaps these killers will get six months of community service, like the settler who beat 12 year old Hilmi Shusha to death.

    B’Tselem protests the Jerusalem District Court’s decision today to sentence Nachum Korman, convicted of manslaughter in the death of 12-year old Hilmi Shusha, to the ridiculous sentence of six months community service and compensation of NIS 70,000.

    At a time when violence by Israeli civilians against Palestinians is increasing, the Court’s decision sends the message that Palestinian life is cheap, and that Israeli civilians in the Occupied Territories can continue to abuse Palestinians with impunity.

    The Court’s decision to accept the plea bargain is a direct continuation of the policy of all Israeli law enforcement agencies – from the police and the IDF, to the State’s Attorney’s Office and the Courts, and including the Presidency. Throughout the years, all these institutions have turned a blind eye to cases where Israelis injure innocent Palestinians, and have even supported them. This policy stands in blatant contradiction to the authorities’ treatment of cases where Palestinians injure Israelis. In the latter cases, the justice system is suddenly highly efficient and employs all means at its disposal, including measures that violate human rights.

    From the testimony of Ibrahim Shusha, cousin of Hilmi and an eye witness to the incident:

    “… the settler went, looked toward the house and saw that no one was there, came back and grabbed Hilmi and immediately kicked him in the head. The settler was wearing army boots. Hilmi, my cousin, stood 3 meters from me… After the kick, Hilmi fell to the ground and lost consciousness. The settler kicked Hilmi in the neck and hit him once on the head with the butt of his pistol.”

    This incident is one of dozens in which Israeli civilians killed Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. B’Tselem conducts a comparative study of all these cases, which paints a disturbing picture: many cases are never even investigated by the Police; others that are investigated, the State’s Attorney’s Office decides not to file indictments; the few cases that do reach the courts end in acquittal or in light sentences. In those isolated incidents where a serious sentence is imposed, the President commuted the sentence.

  10. Blownaway on August 1, 2015, 9:55 am

    This guy reminds me of the woman married to a serial abuser standing there with a black eye cut lip saying please don’t take him away he’s really a good person

  11. Vera Gottlieb on August 1, 2015, 10:33 am

    Ever since the two wars against Gaza I have been ashamed of my Jewish background. No longer. Now I HATE my Jewish background. Settlers doing Netanyahu’s dirty work. Shame on the entire nation.

    • just on August 1, 2015, 12:28 pm

      Then they’ve won, you see.

      That means that their fierce and foul attempts to morph all of Judaism with the state of Israel and its criminal and racist actions has worked.

      Far be it from me to tell anyone how to feel about their heritage or background, but it seems to me that you can retain your own identity without identifying with the massive cult that is Zionism and the psychosis of Israel. There are plenty of good humans right here at MW who’ve been able to transition to a healthy and happier place and leave much baggage and other stuff behind. The ‘hate’ is self- destructive, although I get what you’re saying.


    • Mooser on August 1, 2015, 1:27 pm

      “Ever since the two wars against Gaza I have been ashamed of my Jewish background. No longer. Now I HATE my Jewish background.”

      It may not be important in the overall picture, and not in the face of so much suffering, but if you can, don’t give the Zionists that. Please, don’t give them that!
      Your Jewish background belongs to you, don’t let Zionists control it. Make it your own, one you can like, and live with.
      Don’t give them power over Jewishness, they don’t deserve it. It’s a small thing, but it is something you can do for yourself.

      • annie on August 1, 2015, 1:41 pm

        i agree. succumbing to letting zionism define jewishness or judaism only reinforces antisemitism/bigotry. how can a person expect a non jew to separate the racist actions of zionists from the idea of it representing all jews if a jew can’t do it.

        vera, you need to be who you are and be proud of who you are. for it was your background (all of our backgrounds) who turned us into the people we are today. that one has the ability to know right from wrong is a reflection of that background. rise up that which is good — do not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

        and for heaven’s sakes don’t hate, don’t even speak of it — it only curses those whose hearts are contaminated by it.

      • SQ Debris on August 2, 2015, 9:31 pm

        Thanks Moose and Just. Zionists can test the human soul. Transcending the test is .. nice.

    • turveyd on August 1, 2015, 4:38 pm

      No, no! Remember your classes in Logic, about undistributed middles. All Jews are not Zionists. Though to be truthful, a lot of Israelis seem to be, alas.

      • RoHa on August 2, 2015, 3:46 am

        Remember your logic.

        1. “All Jews are not Zionists.”
        2. Netanyahu is a Jew.
        3. Therefore, Netanyahu is not a Zionist.

        But we know 3 is false, and we know that he is classed as a Jew, so it cannot be true that all Jews are classed as “not Zionists”. Premise one is false. Some Jews are Zionists.

        Since we know that some Jews are not Zionists, we can, however, say “Not all Jews are Zionists”.

      • Mooser on August 2, 2015, 12:57 pm

        “No, no! Remember your classes in Logic, about undistributed middles.”

        That’s right! I sat through all those Logic classes, instead of going to the gym or running, and I ended up with an undistributed middle of my own.
        Oh, BTW, on that subject; drinking beer, I found out, is not the way to get “six-pak abs”. So one would think, but it’s not so.

      • talknic on August 2, 2015, 9:06 pm

        @ Mooser

        Why get a six-pak? Surely one, all inclusive, well rounded pak should suffice

      • Mooser on August 3, 2015, 7:09 pm

        “Surely one, all inclusive, well rounded pak should suffice”

        You are right. Let’s get a keg!

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