And US Guards Drew Weapons

Yisrael Medad,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Yisrael Medad
I am a resident of Shiloh, with my wife and children, and now grandchildren, since 1981, having come on Aliyah in 1970. I have served in a volunteer capacity as a Yesha Council spokesperson, twice a member of Amana's secretariat, Benjamin Regional Council plenum member and mayor of Shiloh. I was a parliamentary aide for Geula Cohen and two other MKs, an advisor to a Minister, vice-chairman and executive director of Israel's Media Watch and was Information and Content Resource coordinator for the Begin Heritage Center. I am now Deputy Editor of the critical edition in anthology of Jabotinsky's writing in English.

You may have read this:

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Jewish settlers threw stones at the cars of a U.S. diplomatic delegation which came to inspect vandalism to nearby Palestinian-owned trees in the occupied West Bank on Friday, Israeli police said...An Israeli police spokeswoman said the delegation arrived at Adei Ad in U.S. diplomatic cars without first having coordinated the visit with Israeli authorities..."Rocks were thrown at them by residents of Adei Ad. We are investigating. Arrests have yet to be made," the spokeswoman said. She said she did not know of any damage to the vehicles and had no further information on the delegates' identities.

An Adei Ad resident who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity said...two armed diplomatic guards briefly emerged from the cars.  "One had a pistol, the other an M-16, and they pointed them at the settlers," the resident said.  Asked about this account, the Israeli police spokeswoman said: "We have no indication that anyone in the U.S. delegation brandished weapons."

I am trying to clear up the details on this. Shabbat interfered.

I do not know who the consular official was.

I do not know if the security chief of Adei-Ad was alerted to the visit.

I do know that less than two weeks ago, a horse was stolen from Jews from that area and that very same night Arabs entered the area to cause trouble.  The site has been under dispute for years.

I do know that that is the area where the demonstration during which Ziad Abu-Ein suffered his fatal heart attack took place.

I do know that reps of the Rabbis for Human Rights and here is one of their photos:

And I do know that if under threat of a rock attack, the normal reaction is to draw weapons for self-defense.

The consulate does know how to coordinate such visits and the problem may be there.

Of course, perhaps a provocation was planned by the RHR or perhaps by their associates at Turmos Aya.

There will be a follow-up when I know more.

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UPDATE

From here

A State Department spokesman in Washington said US authorities were "deeply concerned" about an incident in which Jewish settlers pelted a US diplomatic convoy with stones Friday as envoys tried to visit the West Bank to investigate a complaint by Palestinian farmers over vandalism of olive trees.

The official denied earlier reports that the American security team had drawn their weapons and added that no one was injured in the incident.

"We can confirm a vehicle from the Consulate General was pelted with stones and confronted by a group of armed settlers today in the West Bank, near the Palestinian village of Turmus Ayya," he said.

UPDATE

From AP via ABC:

Another police official, spokeswoman Luba Samri, said that the American security personnel did not use their weapons during the attack.

Awad Abu Samra, who owns the land in the village of Tormousyya where the damage to the olive trees allegedly took place, said he accompanied the officials with two relatives. He described the officials as security personnel who had arrived in the village in advance of a larger party from the American consulate in Jerusalem, which was scheduled to arrive in the village later that afternoon.

"There were six security guards from the consulate riding in two cars," Abu Samra said. "When they got out of the cars they were attacked by young settlers from the outpost who were carrying clubs and axes. They struck the cars with clubs but the security guards did not respond with their weapons."

...Peter Galus, a spokesman at the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem, confirmed that American consular personnel were pelted by rocks thrown by settlers. He denied reports in some Israeli media outlets that the Americans had deployed and aimed their weapons at the stone throwers, adding that the United States was cooperating with Israel in investigating the incident.

U.S. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke in Washington said his government was "deeply concerned" by the attack.

And added:

"The U.S. government follows economic and political issues in the West Bank very closely," Rathke said. "We are working with Israeli authorities in their investigation of the incident, including by offering to provide video footage taken during the incident. We take the safety and security of U.S. personnel very seriously. The Israeli authorities have also communicated to us that they acknowledge the seriousness of the incident and are looking to apprehend and take appropriate action against those responsible."

Found at HaAretz:

Jeff Rathke, Director of the Office of Press Relations at the State Department, said there were no injuries, adding that the U.S. is "working with Israeli authorities in their investigation of the incident, including by offering to provide video footage taken during the incident."

...Rathke also strongly denied earlier reports claiming American security guards drew their weapons. "I do want to correct one thing proactively from some of the reporting I’ve read on this incident," he said. "No American personnel drew their weapons in the course of these events. What has been reported suggesting otherwise is inaccurate."

The American diplomats from the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem arrived at the area after receiving complaints from Palestinians from the village of Turmusayya that settlers uprooted 5,000 olive saplings on Thursday. The saplings were planted in a plot which was only recently cultivated after years of legal battles. One of the landowners in the village is an American citizen, Israel Radio reported.

Upon their arrival, settlers from Adei Ad approached the convoy, a confrontation developed, and the Americans left. The bulletproof American vehicles only sustained light damage, and no one was hurt.

The area where the confrontation took place is where last month Palestinian Minister Ziad Abu Ein died after he was involved in a confrontation with Israeli officers during a protest held as part of the struggle of Turmusiya and Al Mugheir against Adei Ad, which has taken control of their land and prevented them from cultivating it.

And from the New York Times

Abu Samra said that after the attack began the American security guards returned to their vehicles and drove away, explaining that they were under strict instructions not to engage the settlers in any way. He said that the planned visit of the additional officials from the consulate was called off after the incident.

Abu Samra said that last spring he and his family planted some 10,000 olive tree saplings on land the family owns in the village, but that since then, settlers have uprooted most of them.

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