Israelis and Palestinians must both take responsibility for ending the wave of violence in Israel, Democratic candidate Martin O’Malley told an Arab American group on Friday.
Israel has experienced a surge of Palestinian terrorist attacks over the past five weeks, fueled by speculation from Palestinian leaders that Israel is planning to encroach on the Temple Mount.
According to Jewish Insider, O’Malley said "both sides" need to take steps to end the violence, during an address to the Arab American Institute conference in Dearborn, Michigan:
"Like everyone here, I have been deeply concerned about the recent developments in Jerusalem and cities across Israel and the West Bank," the former Maryland Governor said. "We’ve lost 50 Palestinians in recent violence, many of them teenagers – their entire lives before them. We’ve lost 8 Israelis, including an American couple shot in front of their young children. Some people in this room have family members who’ve been affected, no doubt, some of them for generations… all of them are brothers and sisters, and all of them leave behind bereaved families with holes in their hearts."
"This senseless violence produces nothing but tragedy and more distrust, and it does not move the people and the parties closer to a peaceful and long-lasting resolution," said O’Malley. "Both sides have to take steps to end this violence and address the underlying cause of it. Both sides have to make the resumption of discussion, talk and dialogue to include a fair, safe and adequate access to sites in Jerusalem and elsewhere. Provocative actions on either side must be avoided."
Ten Israelis have been killed and hundreds injured in attacks by Palestinians. Eighteen Palestinians have reportedly been killed after committing terrorist attacks, and around 30 others have been killed during clashes with Israeli security forces.
O’Malley attempted to clarify his remarks in a comment to Jewish Insider.
"I condemn all forms of terrorism. In order to move forward towards peace, Abbas and other Palestinian leaders must step up to the plate and condemn these attacks in no uncertain terms."
But his statements drew criticism from his own party.
"Obviously seeking support from any place he might find it, a desperate former governor and soon to be washed up presidential candidate, Martin O'Malley has lost all touch with reality," said Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf in a comment to Jewish Insider.