O’Malley: Both Sides Share Responsibility for Violence in Israel

Israel and the Palestinian Authority must take steps to end the recent surge in violence across Israel and address the underlying cause of it, Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley told a group of Arab Americans in Michigan on Friday.

During a speech to the Arab American Institute’s national leadership conference in Dearborn, Michigan, O’Malley addressed the recent flare-up of violence in Israel and the West Bank, in which 10 Israelis have lost their lives and 127 more were wounded in terrorist attacks. Many of the stabbing attacks were carried out by Palestinian youths from East Jerusalem.

“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.”

“We can never give up on peace. As a nation, we have a unique calling I believe to always be about waging peace, especially when it seems hopeless, and especially when it seems like there will never be a breakthrough,” he stressed. “I am a strong supporter of the two-state solution, which would meet not only Israel’s critical security needs, not only affirm the dignity of the Palestinian people to live as a free people in an independent state of their own, but it is also in the best security interest of the United States of America in this world that all of us share.”

Following the speech, a spokesperson for the O’Malley campaign maintained in a conversation with Jewish Insider that the presidential hopeful was not assigning percentages of blame or guilt. “He believes that the attacks on innocent Israelis and the incitement of those who perpetrated and carried out those attacks is outrageous and wrong,” said Press Secretary Haley Morris.

On Sunday, O’Malley sent the following statement to Jewish Insider to clarify his remarks: “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.”

Watch a video of O’Malley’s remarks below:

Watch live streaming video from aaiusa at livestream.com

This post was updated on 10/25/2015 to include O’Malley’s statement

Subscribe now to
the Daily Kickoff

The politics and business news you need to stay up to date, delivered each morning in a must-read newsletter.