Despite condemning Wednesday terrorist shooting attack in the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv, the State Department on Thursday said that Israel's response to the attack should be designed in a way that does not punish innocent Palestinians.
"We understand the Israeli government's desire to protect its citizens … and we strongly support that right, but we would hope that any measures it takes are designed to also take into consideration the impact on Palestinian citizens that are trying to go about their daily lives," State Department spokesman Mark Toner told a news briefing, according to the Reuters news agency.
The comments were a response to Israel’s actions following the attack, which included freezing work entry visas for some 204 members of the attackers’ extended family.
Israel also rescinded some 83,000 entry permits given to Arabs from Judea and Samaria for Ramadan. Goodwill gestures to Gaza Arabs, including travel permits to Jerusalem to participate in Ramadan prayers on the Temple Mount, were also rescinded.
On Wednesday night, hours after the attack, Toner issued a statement condemning it and referring to it as “cowardly”.
“The United States condemns today’s horrific terrorist attack in Tel Aviv in the strongest possible terms. We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those killed and our hopes for a quick recovery for those wounded,” said Toner.
“These cowardly attacks against innocent civilians can never be justified. We are in touch with Israeli authorities to express our support and concern,” he added.