Declare UN envoy who downplayed terror attack persona non grata, Jewish community leader demands

Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Regional Council, called Tor Wennesland’s words “antisemitism of the highest order.”

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The head of the Samaria Regional Council called Tuesday for the government to declare UN envoy Tor Wennesland “persona non grata” after he downplayed a terror attack Friday and called for an investigation of the police officer who killed the assailant, Hebrew-language media reported.

“Yair Lapid does not have a minimum of national honor,” said Yossi Dagan. “I demand that this liar be kicked out. It is unthinkable that a UN envoy would lie and defame the name of the State of Israel to the world and not apologize for his words.

“We can’t stand silently by in light of this serious victim-blaming, where the one who was attacked, who defended his life and the lives of other citizens from an outlaw, becomes the guilty one when killing the terrorist. This serious slander against the State of Israel and against the soldiers of the IDF and members of the security establishment must be stopped and crushed with a heavy hand, this is antisemitism of the highest order,” he continued.

The foreign ministry summoned the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process earlier in the day for “clarification” but did not come out with a statement afterwards showing it had reprimanded or censured him in any way.

Wennesland labeled as a mere “scuffle” a policeman’s struggle with Ammar Mufleh, who had just knifed a member of the Border Police in the face, wounding him lightly. Mufleh was going for the arresting officer’s rifle when the officer took out his handgun and shot him.

In a video clip uploaded to social media, two men can first be seen trying to pull Mufleh away from the officer, who had him in a head-lock. Mifleh then slips partially free, hits the policeman and goes for his rifle. At that point, the officer takes out his handgun and shoots the terrorist four times, killing him.

Border Police Assistant Chief Amir Cohen praised the second officer for responding quickly and with vigilance, “preventing significant harm to innocent people.” Lapid tweeted that “any attempt to distort reality and tell false stories to the world is simply a disgrace. Our security forces will continue to act determinedly against terror wherever it raises its head.”

Without acknowledging the circumstances, Wennesland posted a tweet saying he was “horrified” by the killing, sent “heart felt condolences to his bereaved family…Such incidents must be fully and promptly investigated and those responsible held accountable.”

The closest the Foreign Ministry came to a public rebuke was a tweet by its spokesperson, Emmanuel Nahshon, on Saturday.

“This incident is a terror attack, in which an Israeli policeman was stabbed in his face and the life of another police officer was threatened and consequently he shot his assailant. This is NOT a ‘scuffle’ – this is a terror attack!” he wrote.

Dagan said that a country with a “minimum of self-respect” would not stand for such behavior as Wennesland’s.

“There is no place in our country for people who use their position to give it a bad name and harm its security personnel. Anyone who wants to incite and lie against the State of Israel is insolent and not welcome here, especially if he is not ready to apologize for his words, even after they turned out to be a complete lie,” he said.