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Jewish Settlers throw stones at US Consulate staff in West Bank

Jewish settlers holding his machine gun in one of the illegal settlements in West Bank
American security guards draw weapons in defense in rare clash near illegal outpost; incident ends without injuries
Times of Israel
Several settlers on Friday hurled rocks at members of staff from Jerusalem’s US Consulate near an illegal West Bank outpost, leading American security personnel to draw their weapons, Israeli media reported. The clash ended without injuries, though light damage was caused to consulate cars.
Consulate staff were touring near the Adei Ad outpost, northeast of Ramallah, along with a number of Palestinians from the nearby village of Turmus Ayya. According to Ynet News, villagers said thousands of olive tree saplings in their lands had been uprooted by local settlers in recent days. A number of villagers with US citizenship invited consulate staff to view the damage up close.
When the American visitors arrived and exited their vehicles, a number of settlers pelted them with rocks. This led security guards to draw their weapons. The consulate staff promptly left the scene, ending the incident without anyone being hurt. The rocks caused some light damage to consulate cars.
Police confirmed the incident to Ynet, and noted the tour had not been coordinated with Israeli authorities.
There was no comment from the US Embassy.
A senior PA official, Ziad Abu Ein, died in a protest in Turmus Ayya against Adei Ad last month. Turmus Ayya residents say the residents of the illegal settlement are encroaching on their lands.
Abu Ein’s death — which Israeli coroners have said was likely caused by a heart attack, but which Palestinians have blamed on soldier violence during the demonstration — caused severe tensions between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Settlers have often been accused of vandalism against Palestinian farmers in the West Bank — particularly of slow-growing olive trees. Palestinians say some settler groups use violence and intimidation to discourage them from working their lands.
Though police investigate such accusations, they rarely end in indictments.
In October 2013, an Israeli NGO accused police of “miserably failing” to protect Palestinian olive groves in the West Bank from vandalism, producing just a handful of indictments in over 200 documented cases of tree destruction over the past nine years.
According to Yesh Din, a human rights watchdog active in the West Bank, out of 211 complaints filed with the Judea and Samaria District police for cases of alleged olive tree vandalism documented by the organization between 2005 and 2013, only four investigations ended in indictment. That, claimed Yesh Din, was a “failure rate” of 97.4 percent, given that the vast majority of cases were closed either due to police’s inability to locate the perpetrators or for “lack of evidence.”
This last October two Israelis were arrested in the West Bank after a group attacked a Palestinian family picking olives at the start of harvest season.
There are some 10 million olive trees in the West Bank and the crop is a critical sector of the Palestinian economy, employing 100,000 workers and raising up to $100 million (70 million euros) each year.

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