Saturday, January 3, 2015

U.S. Consulate Sides With Palestinians In Rift Over Land?


Jewish Settlers Clash with U.S. Consulate Staff in West Bank Face-Off  

JERUSALEM – Jewish settlers hurled stones at staff members of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem in a confrontation that at one point led U.S. security personnel to draw their weapons, Israeli and Palestinian media outlets reported on Friday.

The incident occurred near the Palestinian town of Turmusayya and the adjacent Jewish settlement of Adei Ad located in the northern part of the occupied West Bank.

The area has been the scene of clashes between the Israeli settlers and Palestinians in December after a minister without portfolio in the Palestinian Authority government was killed there by an Israeli border guard.

According to the media reports, a convoy of U.S. consulate staff in Jerusalem came to the area accompanied with Palestinians to verify reports of farmers that Jewish settlers were uprooting olive trees planted by the Palestinians.

When the American visitors arrived, some of settlers pelted them with rocks, leading security guards to draw their weapons. The consulate staff promptly left the scene ending the incident before it could escalate.

Police confirmed the incident to Ynet newspaper, and noted the visit to the area had not been coordinated with Israeli authorities.

One of the Palestinians affected, Awada Abu Samra, told the Palestinian news agency Maan that over the past week the settlers had attacked his groves several times and started uprooting the trees.

Abu Samra said he believed that the attackers had uprooted 5,000 olive tree saplings, out of 8,000 planted in the area.

Jamil al-Barghouti, the chairman of the Resistance Committee against the Wall and the Settlements, argued that these “barbaric acts” occurred with the consent and protection of the Israeli army.

The olive tree is a symbol of Palestinian national identity and the sector employs around 80,000 families in the occupied West Bank.

According to a joint report by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and The Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem, 800,000 olive trees have been damaged or uprooted in the West Bank since 1967.


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