WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is condemning an arson attack by suspected Jewish extremists in the West Bank that killed a Palestinian toddler, branding it a “vicious terrorist” act that must be punished.
In a Friday statement, the State Department welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s condemnation of the attack and called for Israeli authorities to arrest the perpetrators and bring them to justice. It also urged all sides to maintain calm and not escalate tensions.
The sleeping toddler was burned to death when the assailants set fire to two Palestinian homes early Friday, also critically wounding the child’s 4-year-old brother and parents.
The attack has outraged both Israelis and Palestinians and further stirred Palestinian fears that Israel allows attacks by militant Jewish settlers in the West Bank to go unpunished.