Posted tagged ‘Samaria’

Israel, Trump admin reach understanding on construction

October 9, 2017

Israel, Trump admin reach understanding on construction, Israel National News, David Rosenberg, October 9, 2017

Netanyahu and Trump meet Avi Ohayon/GPO

The official added that Israel has established an unofficial understanding with the Trump administration regarding construction in Judea and Samaria, whereby Israel will build outside of the larger “settlement blocs”, but will limit announcements of large housing projects to once every few months. For its part, the Trump administration has pledged not to issue condemnations of Israeli housing projects in Judea and Samaria.

“After Trump came into office, Israel and the new American administration set clear criteria for construction that the Americans were not opposed to, such as canceling the distinction between settlement blocs and isolated settlements. In addition, it was made clear that the Americans no longer consider the settlements an obstacle to peace.”

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The Civil Administration Higher Planning Committee is slated to meet next week and give final approval to nearly 4,000 new housing units across Judea and Samaria, including the first new construction in the Jewish community in Hevron in some four decades.

On Sunday night, Channel 2 reported that the Netanyahu government has okayed the move, following delays by the Higher Planning Committee, which had originally been scheduled to approve the projects in September.

The new wave of construction, totaling 3,829 homes, includes building in communities outside of the so-called “major settlement blocs”, a significant shift from the limits imposed on projects approved during the Obama administration. Along with larger ‘consensus’ towns such as Ariel and Givat Zeev, the new construction wave includes units in Beit El, Tzofim, Rehalim, Nogohot, Hevron, Tekoa, Kfar Etzion, Avnei Hefetz, Nofim, Kochav Yaakov, Har Bracha, and Maaleh Michmash [Michmas].

According to a government official who spoke with Yediot Ahronot on Sunday, next week’s planned approval for the projects signals the end of the Obama-era condemnations of Israeli housing projects.

The official added that Israel has established an unofficial understanding with the Trump administration regarding construction in Judea and Samaria, whereby Israel will build outside of the larger “settlement blocs”, but will limit announcements of large housing projects to once every few months. For its part, the Trump administration has pledged not to issue condemnations of Israeli housing projects in Judea and Samaria.

“There was a long dry period during the Obama era, and we were hit with condemnations for every construction in the settlement,” the official said.

“After Trump came into office, Israel and the new American administration set clear criteria for construction that the Americans were not opposed to, such as canceling the distinction between settlement blocs and isolated settlements. In addition, it was made clear that the Americans no longer consider the settlements an obstacle to peace.”

State to approve wave of construction in Judea and Samaria

June 2, 2017

State to approve wave of construction in Judea and Samaria, Israel National News, David Rosenberg, June 2, 2017

Construction in Gush Etzion Flash90

The Civil Administration’s Higher Planning Committee is scheduled to meet next week to approve a series of building projects in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Combined, the projects include plans for more than 2,600 housing units.

If passed as expected, this would mark the first time the committee has approved housing projects in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria since President Trump took office in January.

The hearings will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, and will cover a number of projects which had been blocked out of political considerations, Channel 2 reported.

The projects include housing outside of the major settlement blocs, in towns such as Kfar Tapuah in central Samaria.

Officials in Jerusalem say the housing projects are not likely to elicit criticism from the White House, noting the open lines of communication between the Prime Minister’s Office and the Trump administration regarding Israeli policy in Judea and Samaria.

The Limits of Israeli Power

June 2, 2017

The Limits of Israeli Power, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, June 2, 2017

(As to Jerusalem, please see Turkish takeover in Jerusalem. — DM)

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

Washington and the rest of the governments of the world know that their refusal to recognize Israel’s capital does not endanger Israel or its control of Jerusalem. They are free to bow to Arab pressure, safe in the knowledge that Israel will continue to protect the unified city.

The time has come, at the outset of the second 50 years of Israeli control over Judea and Samaria, for Israel to take matters into its own hands. Our leaders must stop beating around the bush. They need to use the powers they have to secure Israel’s military and civilian interests in Judea and Samaria for the next 50 years as best they can. And they need to stop waiting for someone else to solve our problems for us.

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On Thursday, US President Donald Trump bowed to the foreign policy establishment and betrayed his voters. He signed a presidential waiver postponing the transfer of the US Embassy to Jerusalem for yet another six months.

Ahead of Trump’s move, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a last-ditch bid to convince Trump to move the embassy to Jerusalem. But it was not to be.

Israel’s failure to convince Trump to do what he repeatedly promised US voters he would do during his presidential campaign shows the disparity in power between Israel and the US.

Israel lacks the power to convince foreign nations to recognize its capital – much less to locate their embassies there. The US, on the other hand, not only has the power to recognize Jerusalem and transfer its embassy to Israel’s capital whenever it wishes to do so, it also has the ability to convince dozens of other countries to immediately follow its lead.

The disparity between what the Americans can do and what Israel can do was on display on Monday evening in a glittering hall at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. There, Bar-Ilan University conferred its Guardian of Zion award on former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton. In his acceptance speech, Bolton presented his vision for the resolution of the Palestinian conflict with Israel.

Bolton’s views are important not merely because his past work at the State Department and the UN brought the US some of its only diplomatic victories in recent decades. His views are important as well because of his close relationship with Trump.

Bolton began his discussion Monday evening by rejecting the “two-state solution.” The two-state model, he noted, has been tried and has failed repeatedly for the past 70 years. There is no reason to believe that it will succeed now. This is particularly true, he said, given the lack of Palestinian social cohesion.

Hamas controls Gaza. The PLO, which is supposed to be Israel’s peace partner, barely controls parts of Judea and Samaria. At a time when more cohesive Arab societies are unraveling, the notion that a Palestinian state would survive and advance regional peace and stability is laughable, Bolton argued.

Bolton then turned to his preferred policy for resolving the Palestinian conflict with Israel, which he dubbed “the three-state solution.” Under his plan, Egypt and Jordan would work with Israel to solve the Palestinian conflict. Egypt would take over the Gaza Strip and Jordan would negotiate the status of Judea and Samaria with Israel.

The crowd at the King David responded enthusiastically to Bolton’s proposal. This is not surprising.

Since 1967, Israelis have hoped for Jordan and Egypt to work with them to solve the problem of the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza who lived under Jordanian and Egyptian occupation from 1949-1967.

Unfortunately, Israel’s support for Bolton’s plan is irrelevant. Israel is powerless to advance it. Israel cannot convince Arab nations to help it resolve the Palestinian conflict any more than it can convince the PLO to cut a peace deal with it.

Like PLO leaders, the leaders of the Arab world know that they cannot help Israel with the Palestinians.

Doing so would involve disowning the Palestinian narrative.

The Palestinian narrative claims that the Jews of Israel are colonialist interlopers who stole the land from the Palestinians, its rightful owners. The narrative makes no distinction between Tel Aviv and Hebron. All of Israel is a crime against the Arab world. All of Israel is illegitimate.

The overwhelming majority of the Arab world believes the Palestinian narrative. For an Arab leader to walk away from it or even to signal an attenuation of his fealty to it in the interest of regional peace would be the riskiest of moves.

Israel has nothing to offer Arab leaders that could induce them to take that risk.

Although it is far from certain, the US may very well have the ability to convince Arab leaders to do so. If Trump decided that this is the way to advance peace in the Arab world, chances are he would make some headway. In other words, Bolton’s three-state plan is a plan that only America can adopt. It cannot be an Israeli plan no matter how enthusiastically the public supports involving Jordan and Egypt in solving the conflict.

Given Israel’s inability to offer the Arabs anything valuable enough for Arab leaders to risk life and limb to accept in exchange for helping to solve the Palestinian conflict, as Israel considers its own options in relation to the Palestinians, it needs to limit its goals to things that it can achieve without them. In other words, the only steps that Israel can take in relation to the Palestinians are unilateral steps.

For the past 50 years, hoping that the Arabs – and since 1993, the PLO – would finally make peace with it and so settle the permanent status of Judea and Samaria, Israel refused to take any unilateral actions in relation to its permanent interests in Judea and Samaria. Rather than apply its legal code to Judea and Samaria, it opted for the stop-gap measure of installing a military government to run the areas on the basis of Jordanian law.

Between 1994 and 1996, Israel canceled the military government in the Palestinian population centers in Judea and Samaria and Gaza. In 2005, when it withdrew, it canceled the residual military government in the rest of Gaza. Since then, the only area that remains under the Israeli military government is Area C in Judea and Samaria. Area C includes all of the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, and strategically critical areas including the Jordan Valley, the Samaria mountain range and the south Hebron Hills.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu gave an interview with Army Radio where he set out part of his vision for the permanent status of Judea and Samaria. He limited his statement to the military status of the areas. He said that under any possible future scenario, Israel must retain full security control of the areas. This, he said, is the lesson of Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

That pullout led to the transformation of Gaza into a Hamas-controlled hub of global jihad. Moreover, under Hamas, the Palestinians turned Gaza into one big, densely populated missile-launching pad against Israel.

While justified, Netanyahu’s position obscures more than it illuminates about his long-term vision for Judea and Samaria.

What does he mean by security control? Would the IDF remain in sole control over Israel’s eastern boundaries or would it serve as an overall coordinator of foreign forces operating along the border? Would IDF forces be confined to fortified positions while the Palestinians reign free in the open areas, as was the case in southern Lebanon in the years leading up to Israel’s disastrous withdrawal in 2000? Or would the IDF have freedom of action and maintain the initiative throughout Judea and Samaria? Moreover, does Netanyahu envision the IDF remaining the only military organization operating in Judea and Samaria in the long term? Beyond the security issues that require clarification, Netanyahu’s statements make no mention of the rights of Jews to live in Judea and Samaria.

Does he believe that Jews should be permitted to live permanently in the areas that Israel controls? If so, why are they subjected to the Jordanian legal code used by the military government and which proscribes their right to purchase land and register land sales? This brings us to the issue of governance. What does Netanyahu think about the military government in Area C? Does he believe that the 50-year reign of generals should continue until the Arabs choose to resolve the Palestinian conflict with Israel? What if this means that the generals will continue to rule over hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens for another 50 or 100 or 150 years? Does he, on the other hand, prefer to transfer governance responsibility in Area C to the Palestinians and place the nearly 500,000 Israelis in the area under Palestinian control? In the course of his remarks, Bolton noted that if Jordan is responsible for the Palestinians of Judea and Samaria, the issue of Jerusalem will be removed from the equation. After all, if their capital is Amman, Israel has no reason to divide its capital city.

And this brings us back to Jerusalem, which Trump spurned on Thursday.

As is the case today, 50 years ago, Israel had no power to influence the positions of foreign governments regarding its capital city. But in contrast to its decision to establish a military government in Judea and Samaria, Israel didn’t wait for foreigners to give it permission to act where it had the power to act in order to change the status of the city and ensure its ability to govern and control its capital for generations to come.

In 1967, the government voted to expand the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem to include the eastern, northern and southern quarters that had been under Jordanian occupation since 1949.

Everyone benefited from the move – including the foreign powers that still refuse to recognize the simple fact that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.

Washington and the rest of the governments of the world know that their refusal to recognize Israel’s capital does not endanger Israel or its control of Jerusalem. They are free to bow to Arab pressure, safe in the knowledge that Israel will continue to protect the unified city.

Trump’s decision to sign the waiver delaying the embassy move is a betrayal of his campaign promise, but it doesn’t change the situation in Jerusalem. Last week, Israel celebrated 50 years of sovereignty over its united capital. Jerusalem will be neither more nor less united if and when the US moves its embassy to the capital.

Perhaps Trump will eventually keep his word and move the embassy. Perhaps he will continue to breach his promise. And as far as the Palestinians are concerned, perhaps Trump adopts Bolton’s three-state plan in relation to Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Perhaps he will maintain his predecessors’ slavish devotion to the establishment of a PLO state.

Israel can’t control what Trump will do any more than it can influence what the Arabs will do. And so it needs to take a lesson not only from its bitter experience of withdrawing from Gaza, but from its positive experience of taking matters into its own hands in Jerusalem.

The time has come, at the outset of the second 50 years of Israeli control over Judea and Samaria, for Israel to take matters into its own hands. Our leaders must stop beating around the bush. They need to use the powers they have to secure Israel’s military and civilian interests in Judea and Samaria for the next 50 years as best they can. And they need to stop waiting for someone else to solve our problems for us.

Mainstream Media Distorts Reality on Israeli Settlements

April 4, 2017

Mainstream Media Distorts Reality on Israeli Settlements, Front Page MagazineGideon Israel, April 4, 2017

Reprinted from en.mida.org.il.

Yesterday, Israel’s government approved construction of a new settlement in Judea and Samaria (aka West Bank).  Media outlets CNN, BBC and the NY Times wasted no time publishing stories that distort the truth, if not outright lie.  These mistakes range from offering a false impression of reality to actually getting facts wrong. Such elementary mistakes expose the disconnect between mainstream media outlets and basic truths of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

For example, CNN wrote that this is Israel’s ‘first new settlement in Palestinian territory in more than 20 years’. The first part of the sentence is misleading and the second part is false.  Israel has not built new communities in Judea and Samaria because it has given numerous chances for the Palestinian leadership to come to the table and reach an agreement. However, the Palestinians continually refused.  Instead, the article leads the reader to believe that this is a new policy meant to stifle any chance for a peace agreement.

The second part of the statement asserts that Israel is building in Palestinian territory. This is because CNN incorrectly believes that Israel has no legal rights to the West Bank. Israel’s legal rights to controlling the West Bank and building communities there under international law have been affirmed  time and again by respected authorities on the subject, including: Professor Eugene Rostow, Professor Julius Stone , Professor Eugene Kontorovich, Professor Avi Bell and more.

BBC wrote that this new settlement is being built after ‘the largest settlement, Amona, was evacuated by police last month.’  Amona, far from being the largest settlement, was probably one of the smallest settlements existing in the West Bank, approximately 40 families. Yet, this gives the impression that even the largest settlement in the West Bank was evacuated, and thus why not evacuate the entire West Bank.

And the New York Times topped it off by cherry picking statements to make it look as if Israel was disrespecting the Trump Administration.  Author of the article, Isabel Kershner, who has been accused of anti-Israel bias in the past, writes that Israel is building settlements despite President Trump’s request ‘to hold off on settlement activity’. Then she writes that ‘the United States has long considered the settlements an obstacle to peace.’ Those two statements are mixing apples with oranges.

The Trump Administration, while suggesting that Israel hold off on settlements for a little bit, explicitly said in a press release that they ‘don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace’. This was a clear departure from past US policy, especially under the Obama Administration, yet Kershner ignores that, and prefers to think that Barack Obama is still president.

Kershner also ponders whether Netanyahu’s announcement was potentially a ‘provocative move to scuttle any prospect of a revival of peace talks’. She blatantly disregards the past eight years where Mahmoud Abbas refused to negotiate with the Israelis, and the past 25 years where Palestinian leaders have continually refused all peace deals offered to them. Even more, Kershner ignores the fact that building a new settlement was promised to the residents of Amona before the settlement was evacuated. She should know this, she lives in Israel.

Since the mainstream media continues its anti-Israel bias, here are some important facts to know about the settlements.

  • Jordan illegally occupied the West Bank in 1948, a move strongly condemned by both the Russian and US Ambassadors to the U.N at the time.  Besides for Great Britain and India, no other country recognized Jordan’s rights to the territory.  Thus, when Israel conquered the West Bank in 1967 after Jordan decided to attack Israel at the behest of other Arab leaders, Israel was merely reclaiming the territory that had been granted to them under the British Mandate prior to 1948.
  • Under the Mandate for Palestine, Article 25, it is clear that the eastern border of the future Jewish state would be the Jordan river, many years prior to the imaginary ‘green line’ which has no legal status.
  • The majority of the communities in the West Bank were built on government property, and in the few cases where a mistake was made and a settlement was established on private property, the Israeli government worked to ameliorate the situation by either offering compensation to the owner of the land, or in the extreme case of Amona, the settlement was dismantled.
  • According to statistics from January, 2017, there are approximately 421,000 Israelis living in Judea and Samaria. While many envision the makeup of the population as religious extremists, in reality, the population is made up of 1/3 religious Zionists, 1/3 secular Israelis, 1/3 ultra orthodox Jews.
  • Israel has approximately 150 ‘settlements’ in the West Bank ranging from 100 people to around 70,000 people.  The term ‘settlements’ actually distorts reality as one imagines three tents on a hilltop. In reality, similar to any other country in the world,  Israeli citizens residing in Judea and Samaria live in areas that could be defined as villages, towns, boroughs and cities. For example, Maale Adumim, called a ‘settlement’ by the media and Arab countries, has a population of approximately 42,000 people, comparable to the populations of Atlantic City and Fort Lee located in NJ, and both would not be mistaken for a settlement.  Modiin Illit, with a population exceeding 65,000, is comparable to the population of Palo Alto, California.  Givaat Zeev, with a population exceeding 25,000, is slightly less than the population of Monterey, California, which would never be mistaken for a ‘settlement’ or an ‘outpost’.
  • The reasons for living in Judea and Samaria are varied. Some live there because of ideological reasons, others live there for the countryside atmosphere it provides, and some live there because housing is inexpensive and in close proximity to major cities such as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. For example, more than 150,000 residents living in Judea are within a 15 minute drive of Jerusalem.  Just as some people choose to live in Hoboken, NJ, so they can be close to NY without paying Manhattan prices, the same applies for Israelis to living in Judea and Samaria.
  • Judea and Samaria is home to one of Israel’s eight universities – Ariel University. There are approximately 15,000 students (Jewish and Arab) that attend the University, comparable to the size of Duke University in North Carolina.
  • There are approximately 11,000 Arabs who work in over 800 factories spanning 14 industrial parks in industry and agriculture throughout Israeli controlled parts of the West Bank.  Salaries of Arabs working in these factories are more than double the average salary of Palestinians working in the Palestinian controlled areas, and according to a ruling by Israel’s Supreme Court, they are entitled to pension benefits just like Israelis.
  • The Palestinians have benefited tremendously since Israel took over the West Bank in 1967.  From 1967 until the signing of the Oslo Accords, Palestinian life expectancy increased from 56 to 68 years and infant mortality dropped from 13 to 5 deaths for every 1000 infants. Israel’s presence in the West Bank led to a massive overhaul of the infrastructure bringing electricity, sewage and increased amounts of water to Arab towns.
  • Israeli companies with factories in the West Bank have been targeted by the BDS movement, however the Arab workers are the ones who suffer most from these boycotts.  Sodastream was targeted by the BDS because of their West Bank factory, and eventually it moved its factory outside the West Bank.  As a result, almost 600 Palestinian workers were laid off.
  • Judea and Samaria has about one million visitors each year, and more than 80% of the events in the bible happened in the area of Judea and Samaria.

Cutback of Israeli troops on West Bank led to upsurge of Palestinian terror. Four Israelis dead

October 4, 2015

Cutback of Israeli troops on West Bank led to upsurge of Palestinian terror. Four Israelis dead, DEBKAfile, 11:55 PM IDT, October 3, 2015

Old_city_stabbing_D_3.10.15Child saved in Jerusalem stabbing attack

Amid a wave of terror that has hit Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria during the holiday of Sukkot, and which has already resulted in the murder of four Israelis, it is necessary to point a finger at  some senior IDF officers and members of the Israeli security establishment as partially responsible.

Putting all political issues aside, we point to a decision by IDF Chief of Staff Gady Eisenkot to reduce the number of IDF forces in Judea and Samaria so as to detach them for other missions, that we are unable to reveal here. It was a serious error for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon to approve the troop reduction in the face of warnings regarding a surge in terror attacks, especially in Jerusalem.

Yaalon and Eisenkot corrected this error on Thursday, October 1, immediately after the murder of Eitam and Na’ama Henkin by killers who appeared to function like professionals. They ordered the immediate redeployment of four battalions to flashpoint areas in Judea and Samaria.

There is no way to immediately turn the clock back and restore security to these areas overnight. It will take time and, meanwhile, there more terror attacks are foreseen in the near future.

The general feeling in some military quarters is that the commanders responsible for security in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem, down to the heads of regional brigades were not the right choices for dealing with complex and sensitive security situations.  The officials who made those appointments must be held responsible for incorrectly presuming that the situation in those areas would stay calm in the long term and therefore failing to instal officers best able to handle the current threats.

In the space of 48 hours, during the Jewish festival season, two pairs of Israel parents were attacked by Palestinian terrorists. After gunmen killed the first couple Eitam and Na’ama Henkin in a drive-by ambush near Alon More Thursday night, a second couple and their two-year old child were knifed in the Old City of Jerusalem Saturday night, Oct. 3 by a another Palestinian terrorist on their way to the Western Wall. They were among a large crowd thronging through the main street to the Kotel.

The father and a second man died of their injuries before reaching hospital, the mother is in grave condition.. The child was struck in the foot. A fourth victim is in very serious condition. After his stabbing attack, the terrorist snatched the sidearm of one of his victims and began shooting at passing tourists before Border Guards police cut him down. The dead terrorist has meanwhile been identified as Muhand Halabi, 19, from El Bireh near Ramallah.

Jerusalem is beset for some weeks now by fast escalating aggressive Palestinian terror.The heavily beefed up forces of Border Guards and IDF troops are clearly failing to staunch or avert the rising violence.

The fatal stabbing attack in Jerusalem Saturday followed two overnight attacks elsewhere in the city: gunfire on an Israeli vehicle near Maale Adummim. In the southern district, gunshots from Jebel Mukabar reached the neighboring Jewish neighborhood of Nof Zion. No one was hurt in both these incidents. Saturday night, there was more shooting from Jebel Mukabar.

Police have imposed a curfew on the Old City of Jerusalem and shut all the gates to Temple Mount.

The large-scale army raid of Nablus in pursuit of the murderers of Eitam and Na’ama Henkin has rounded up a number of suspects.

What Were Armed US Consulate Staff Doing near Adei Ad?

January 4, 2015

What Were Armed US Consulate Staff Doing near Adei Ad? Israel National News,  Ari Soffer, January 4, 2015

(Please see also ‘Deport US Consulate Staff Who Threatened Jews’ and related update links in my parenthetical comment there. This is a further update.– DM)

img557200Adei Ad is located in the Shiloh bloc north of JerusalemMendy Hechtman/Flash 90

Security source says ‘no question’ US Consulate staff pointed their weapons during Friday confrontation. Planned provocation or blunder?

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The full details of Friday’s clash between residents of the Jewish village of Adei Ad in Samaria and a delegation from the US Consulate in Jerusalem – which very nearly escalated into a fully-fledged shootout between the sides – are still emerging.

But those details which have emerged so far paint a worrying picture regarding the conduct of Consulate staff – who either willingly took part in a planned provocation, or else, in a staggering show of irresponsibility and unprofessionalism, recklessly blundered into a volatile and potentially deadly situation without the slightest idea of what they were doing.

Roughly two hours before the start of Shabbat, a group from the Consulate, escorted by armed (apparently American) guards and several residents of the Arab village of Turmus Ayya, descended en-masse and unannounced on an area within 50 meters of Adei Ad’s southwestern edge. Neither the IDF nor local residents were informed of the visit beforehand.

The Consulate delegation had apparently been “invited” by Palestinian Arabs from Turmus Ayya, many of whom hold US citizenship, ostensibly to see the site of what Arabs claim was an “attack” by Adei Ad residents on an olive orchard. That incident was originally reported Thursday night by the PA’s Bethlehem-based Maan News, which claimed that Jewish “settlers” had uprooted 5,000 olive trees – a rather incredible number to those familiar with quite what such a mammoth task would entail. Subsequent reports later revised the number down to 500, although no independent verification or evidence of the alleged damage has surfaced as yet.

Adei Ad residents, alarmed at the unannounced arrival of a large groupfrom a Palestinian village within meters of their community, rushed out to confront them. A brief verbal altercation ensued which quickly escalated, with youths from Adei Ad hurling rocks at the delegation, causing some damage to a Consulate vehicle.

At this point the accounts vary; witnesses from Adei Ad say Consulate staff drew their weapons – an M-16 and a handgun – following which residents called for backup from Adei Ad’s own security team. The Consulate, for its part, has denied any weapons were drawn at all. Either way, the American delegation beat a hasty retreat.

Notably, at no point during the confrontation was the IDF alerted by the Consulate team; only after leaving the scene did the Americans call the army, who quickly responded and launched an investigation, which is still ongoing.

img73901Damage to US Consulate vehicle Rabbis for Human Rights

Whatever the case, Jewish residents of Adei Ad and surrounding communities in the Shiloh bloc, located in the Binyamin region to the north of Jerusalem, are demanding answers. Angry residents say the incident was clearly a planned provocation, and have expressed their astonishment at the fact that an armed entourage from the US Consulate would arrive at a contested spot without coordinating their visit with the IDF in advance.

Indeed, regardless of the intent behind the visit, one Adei Ad resident pointed out that it was a clear recipe for disaster.

Apart from being the location of a protest in December 10th in which senior PA official Ziad Abu Ein died of a heart attack, the site of Friday’s confrontation is also the precise spot where a group of Palestinians attempted to infiltrate Adei Ad just two weeks ago.

“Two weeks ago at that exact place a horse was stolen,” said the resident, who asked to remain anonymous. “At 10 p.m. that same night dozens of Arabs from a nearby village came up to Adei Ad at the same spot, and residents came out to keep them away.”

Recounting Friday’s incident, he said residents had no idea Consulate staff were present at all. All they saw, he said, was “Arabs approaching, accompanied by what looked like a group of Europeans – we didn’t know who they were exactly. Often foreign anarchists join the Arabs in carrying out violence or provocation.”

Due to the tense relations between Jews and Arabs in the area, Arab farmers must contact the IDF before working land that abuts Adei Ad in order to avoid any confrontations. For their part, Adei Ad residents have long complained that they have been regularly targeted by Arab thieves and vandals.

“About two years ago a group of Arabs actually came right up to my house, right into the enter of Adei Ad, and stole a whole herd of sheep. In the past they’ve stolen horses, they stole a tractor, building equipment,” the resident recounted.

“The Arabs know that if they want to come that close to Adei Ad to do agricultural work they need to let the army know first to escort them. So any time Arabs approach without army supervision – particularly in that place where two weeks ago there was an incident – that’s a sign that they are coming to cause trouble… to attack or damage property,” he added.

He said locals had long given up on the prospect of receiving help from police, who he accused of totally avoiding their responsibilities and only agreeing to investigate Palestinian accusations against them.

“We receive no backing from the police,” he lamented. “Every time there is an incident of robbery by the Arabs the military refuses to deal with it because they don’t look at it as life-threatening; and the police… they tell us that it’s out of their jurisdiction.

“On the other hand, every time the Arabs steal something or cause trouble they then go and report us to the police – that’s how they work – so it’s always a one-sided investigation, because the police claim they have no jurisdiction over the Arab villages, only over us! No one has ever been charged, no property has ever been returned.”

He emphasized that despite the negative characterization of Adei Ad and surrounding Jewish communities in the area by some media outlets, residents are not interested in trouble and just want to get on with their daily lives in peace.

“We have much better things to do with our lives – we have our children and families, and we have jobs,” he said. “We don’t enjoy going out and having rock-throwing fights… no one seems to realize… but we feel we are under threat and that if we don’t do it the next step is a terrorist attack.”

Responding to American denials that Consulate staff pointed their guns at residents, a local security source said there was “no question” they hadindeed drawn their weapons, based on the individual testimony of numerous witnesses.

The security source, who also asked to remain anonymous, said one American “with ginger hair” was seen pointing his pistol at residents, who were unarmed, from inside of his car after rolling down the window. The other armed man then did the same with an M-16 rifle.

It was then that the situation threatened to get out of control.

“News spread that some people had approached the town with weapons, and they called for help,” prompting armed members of the local civilianfirst-response team to rush to the site, he recounted.

Luckily, “at that point it seems like the Americans thought it would be a good time to leave… and after that there was a brief confrontation between the Arabs and (Jewish) residents until the army arrived.”

He said that although an investigation was still ongoing, the conduct of the Consulate delegation was “suspicious.”

“Why didn’t they call anyone while the confrontation was going on?” he asked.

He also described the “strange” behavior of the Consulate guards when they were finally met by IDF forces and first-responders, describing them as looking sheepish and, unprompted, immediately insisting they hadn’t drawn their weapons.

Marc Prowisor, a resident of the nearby town of Shiloh, said the latest confrontation posed some “difficult questions.”

“Were members of the American Consulate knowingly taking part in a larger provocation – which is against the law?” asked Prowisor who, as Director of the One Israel Fund charity which helps secure local communities, is in regular contact with local security forces.

‘Deport US Consulate Staff Who Threatened Jews’

January 3, 2015

‘Deport US Consulate Staff Who Threatened Jews’ Israel National News, Uzi Baruch and Tova Dvorin, January 3, 2014

(Huh? If the report is accurate, the U.S. consular officials went way too far. Cf this 2008 video:

Please see also American Security Guards Clash with Jews in Binyamin. Please see also this article, apparently (but not clearly) about what happened later when the consular officials got to the olive trees. — DM)

img510743Soldiers guard Samaria community (illustration) Flash 90

An argument erupted between the convoy and the community’s security guards, as all official visits to Jewish communities in Judea-Samaria must be coordinated with the IDF and police – a protocol the consulate allegedly ignored. At least one of the American guards allegedly pulled out his handgun and M-16 during the course of the argument.

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Acting Head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, has filed a request to the Minister of the Interior Gilad Erdan demanding he immediately expel the American Consulate staff members who entered the Samaria village of Adei Ad Friday and threatened Israeli Jews with an M-16. 

“As revealed through Wikileaks few years ago, these supposed ‘officials’ are intelligence agents and spies in every respect,” said Dagan, adding “this time, they went too far and participated in a provocative tour with the Palestinians in the southern Samaria and north Binyamin, without any coordination as required with the IDF and police, and pulled out a firearm and threatened Israeli civilians.”

“This is a crossing of all red lines,” he continued. “This event could have descended easily into bloodshed and only as a result of the settlers’ responsible behavior was [a scenario like that] prevented.”

“I request that in view of the serious and criminal conduct, that these [US] security guards and officials be deported,” he added.

“If Israeli intelligence officials and armed Israeli security guards stationed in one of the Israeli consulates in the United States had participated in a political provocation without any coordination with the police and threatened American citizens with weapons, at best, they would bearrested and deported, and the more likely case would be them spending several years in federal prison.”

It is unclear exactly what prompted the incident at Adei Ad Friday, but reports say that several consulate officials arrived with armed guards at the community to investigate Palestinian Arabs’ claims of vandalism of a nearby olive orchard.

An argument erupted between the convoy and the community’s security guards, as all official visits to Jewish communities in Judea-Samaria must be coordinated with the IDF and police – a protocol the consulate allegedly ignored. At least one of the American guards allegedly pulled out his handgun and M-16 during the course of the argument.