An Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman on Tuesday disputed State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki's assertion that the U.S. doesn't consider a Palestinian-American teenager who was killed while allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail at passing cars to be a terrorist.
The U.S. issued a statement offering condolences to the family of Orwa Hammad, 14, after he was fatally shot by an Israeli soldier on Friday. The Israeli military said Hammad was throwing a Molotov cocktail at a highway often used by Israelis near the West Bank city of Ramallah.
A reporter asked Psaki about the statement Monday: "There are reports out there that he was throwing Molotov cocktails at cars on a highway, and I’m wondering, if that is the case, would you still have been so speedy in putting out a statement and offering your condolences to the family? The argument that is being made by some in Israel is that this kid was essentially a terrorist, and you don’t agree with that, I assume.”
"Correct, we don’t. I don’t have any more details on the circumstances now," Psaki responded. Watch via the Washington Free Beacon:
Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Paul Hirschson told TheBlaze that such action "qualifies as terrorism."
“We do think that when somebody is throwing Molotov cocktails with malicious intent at cars on a highway because they don’t like Israel, I think it qualifies as terrorism,” Hirschson said.
Photos showed that Hammad, who was born in New Orleans and moved to the West Bank when he was 6, was carried out during his funeral Sunday wearing a green Hamas headband.
Asked, “is that of concern at all to you guys?” Psaki declined to comment, saying only, “I just don’t have any more on this particular case.”
Palestinians mourners carry the body of Orwa Hammad, 14, who was shot dead last Friday during clashes with Israeli army soldiers, during his funeral in the village of Silwad, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
The State Department's statement Friday called for “a speedy and transparent investigation” into the incident, which took place in the Palestinian town of Silwad.
Two days earlier, Psaki issued a statement condemning the killing of 3-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun, who was also a U.S. citizen. Israeli authorities said a Palestinian with ties to Hamas rammed his car into a group of bystanders in Jerusalem, hitting Braun’s stroller and sending her flying through the air.
While both statements expressed the U.S.’ “deepest condolences” and appealed for calm, only the statement regarding Hammad called for an investigation.
The Oct. 22 statement described the baby’s killing as a “despicable attack”: "The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem. We express our deepest condolences to the family of the baby, reportedly an American citizen, who was killed in this despicable attack, and extend our prayers for a full recovery to those injured. We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this incident."
A second victim of that attack, 22-year-old Karen Yemima Muscara, succumbed to her wounds and was buried Monday.
Hirschson said he had no issue with Psaki’s message of condolences to the teenager's family last week.
“We in Israel and most of West believe in personal responsibility,” Hirschson said. “It wasn’t the parents who threw the Molotov cocktail and if you want to give condolences that’s fine.”
Throwing Molotov cocktails at passing cars “is a manifestation of the pursuit of conflict and it does warrant, deserve stark criticism and condemnation, first and foremost from the Palestinian Authority," Hirschson said.
“They're doing the opposite which is disastrous,” Hirschson said of the Palestinian leadership. “They are encouraging the pursuit of conflict.”