American consular vehicle which was attacked by rock-hurling settlers.
(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
A State Department spokesman in Washington said US authorities are “deeply concerned” about an incident in which Jewish settlers threw stones at vehicles from the US Consulate in Jerusalem carrying officials who came to inspect vandalism to Palestinian-owned trees in the West Bank on Friday.
“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 Aiya,” said the US State Department spokesman, according to AFP.
An Israel Police spokeswoman said the delegation arrived at the Adei Ad outpost in US diplomatic cars without first having coordinated the visit with the Israeli authorities. The purpose of the trip was to inspect trees that had been uprooted in what their Palestinian owners suspect was vandalism by Jewish settlers, she said.
“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 area resident who did not want to be named told The Jerusalem Post that the Adei Ad residents did not know the that the convoy was American and did not want to attack a US convoy. He said the Adi Ad residents believed the cars belonged to Palestinians, who they feared had come to harm their small community of some 40 families, located near the Shiloh settlement in the Binyamin region of the West Bank.
Just last week, he said, there was an incident when Palestinians tried to enter the community.
What residents saw on Friday were two large cars and some Palestinians walking near them, and assumed that this was the start of an attack, the resident said.
Then two armed men got out of the vehicle wearing sunglasses and pointed guns at the residents, he said, adding that the settlers believed the Palestinians had sought to provoke an incident by bringing the convoy close to the community.
He also dismissed charges that olive trees had been destroyed.
Asked about this account, the police spokeswoman said: “We have no indication that anyone in the US delegation brandished weapons.”