On Sunday, the United States also called for an investigation into a deadly traffic accident over the weekend in which an Israeli driver hit and killed two Palestinian brothers who were repairing a battered vehicle on the West Bank shoulder.
The crash, which the Palestinian Authority said was a deliberate ram attack and which Israeli police said was an accident, claimed the lives of Mohammad and Mohanad al-Mutair at the Qalandiya refugee camp in the Jerusalem area.
In a tweet on Sunday, the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, Office of Palestine Affairs, offered its condolences to Murter’s family, adding: “We support a thorough police investigation into this tragedy.”
Israeli police launched an investigation into the incident, but said that after initial assessments, it was believed the Israeli driver, in his 50s, accidentally hit the Palestinian brother.
The brothers were repairing their vehicle on the side of the road between Rechelim and Tapuah junction.
Police said Muteirs’ car’s lights appeared to have gone out when it was parked on the dimly lit side of the highway.
But Wafa, the official Palestinian Authority news website, described the collision as a “car crash attack”, and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh called it a “horrible crime”. Zakaria Fayala of the Palestinian Authority’s Jerusalem governorate branch in Qalandiya said in a statement that the driver deliberately accelerated his car before hitting the Muteirs.
The comment marks the second time the United States has urged Israel to act in the days following the death of a Palestinian in the West Bank.
Last Monday, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the United States “wanted to[d] See accountability” after 16-year-old Jana Zakarna was shot dead in an Israeli military raid in the northern West Bank city of Jenin. IDF says a border police sniper may be responsible for mistakenly shooting Zakarna The IDF said she had been on the roof of her home when a violent shootout broke out during an operation to arrest three terror suspects.
The United States has repeatedly expressed alarm at the escalation of violence in the West Bank over the past few months, urging Israel and the Palestinian Authority to act and cooperate to restore calm.
The IDF has been conducting a major counterterrorism offensive, mostly in the northern West Bank, following a spate of Palestinian attacks in the spring.
The operation resulted in more than 2,500 arrests in near-nightly raids, but also resulted in the deaths of more than 165 Palestinians, many – but not all – while carrying out the raids or clashing with security forces.