U.S.embassy personnel drove to the E-1 area of Maaleh Adumin last week and lied to activists who had erected tents, telling them they were police while taking photographs. Shortly after the vehicles left, police arrived and confiscated the tents, but the American embassy later confirmed that the license plates belonged to American diplomatic personnel.
The incident was “espionage,” charged National Union Knesset Member Dr. Michael Ben-Ari, who said he will ask the Knesset to discuss the event. American officials responded that their personnel were carrying out “routine activities” but did not explain why they lied to activists.
The area involved is called E-1 and is part of Maaleh Adumim, a city of 40,000 Jews located directly east of Jerusalem. During the Bush administration, the American government reversed its policy and went back on understandings that Israel would develop the E-1 area as part of its natural expansion of the city.
The activists erected three tents on Monday, as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was preparing to speak to the American Congress. The following day, luxurious cars with tinted windows arrived, and their occupants stopped to take pictures of the tents. Shortly after they left, police arrived and confiscated the tents.
The ritual repeated itself on Wednesday, but this time the activists said the English-speaking personnel identified themselves as police. However, the Israelis noted the license plate numbers, which the U.S. embassy later admitted belonged to their vehicles. The report was confirmed by Voice of Israel government radio.
MK Ben-Ari said, “It would be interesting to know what would happen if Israeli diplomats took photos of activists in the United States. While Jonathan Pollard rots in jail, [U.S. President Barack] Obama shamelessly sends his spies against Israel in the light of day. The activists prove that Obama and Netanyahu can talk all they want, but the People of Israel continue to settle our land."
Meir Bratler, of the Movement to Build in Judea and Samaria, said, “The strategic area of E-1 must be built as a Jewish neighborhood, and the Likud government should say so. The expulsions following American pressure will not stop us.”