JERUSALEM, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro said he regrets the timing of his recent comments critical of Israeli policies in the West Bank.
Shapiro provoked a diplomatic furor on Jan. 19 when he told a Tel Aviv conference of the Institute for National Securities Studies that West Bank laws are applied differently to Israeli and Palestinian residents. He met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the following day in what was pointedly described by the U.S. embassy as not an official summoning of a foreign ambassador by a head of state.
"At times there seem to be two standards of adherence to the rule of law, one for Israelis and another for Palestinians," he told the conference, in part.
On Monday he told Israeli Army Radio he regretted his timing; the day of his comments, Dafna Meir, an Israeli mother of six, was buried after being stabbed by a Palestinian in the town of Otniel. The same day a pregnant Israeli woman, Michal Froman, was stabbed in Tekoa. Both towns are Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
"I understand the timing was not the best. I started with a condemnation of the attacks in Otniel and Tekoa. There were just one or two lines that caused disagreement, but if this, God forbid, hurt the Meir family or anyone else mourning Dafna's death, may her memory be a blessing, then of course I regret it," Shapiro said.