Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was set to address the foreign press on Thursday on a day that saw Israel in a public diplomacy battle with the Palestinian Authority over the recent wave of stabbing attacks that has plagued the country.
Israel on Thursday published pictures of a 13-year-old boy who carried out a terror attack in Pisgat Ze'ev earlier this week, proving that he was alive and convalescing after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had claimed that the boy was "executed in cold blood" by Israeli security forces.
Police tried to combat claims on Palestinian social media that the boy was innocent by releasing security camera footage of him carrying out the attack which left a 13-year-old Jewish boy in critical condition.
Israeli politicians also reacted furiously Thursday to State Department spokesman John Kirby's statement suggesting that Jerusalem was using disproportionate force to stop the wave of stabbing attacks.
"The comments by the US State Department spokesman are so crazy, deceitful and baseless, that I expect President [Barack] Obama and US Secretary of State [John] Kerry to distance themselves from them, and to clarify the US position today,” said Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
Kirby ignited a maelstrom of anger when, during the State Department’s daily press briefing on Wednesday, he was asked numerous questions about the current situation in Israel.
Asked about the placement of roadblocks at the entrance to some east Jerusalem neighborhoods on Wednesday, Kirby said that Israel has a “right and responsibility to protect its citizens.” Then he continued, “We’ve certainly seen some reports of what many would consider excessive use of force. Obviously we don't like to see that,” adding shortly afterward, “we're concerned about that.”
Erdan told Israel Radio that it was the “height of hypocrisy” for Kirby, who just last week needed to explain the US's accidental bombing of a hospital in Afghanistan leading to the death of 22 people, to now preach to Israel.”