Staff from the US Consulate at Jerusalem attempted to investigate reports of Israeli settlers uprooting olive trees at a Palestinian village, and found themselves attacked by armed settlers en route.
The settlers didn’t fire on the consular vehicles, but threw stones at them, forcing them out of their cars. Reports are that consular security officials drew their weapons, though they didn’t fire either.
The State Department confirmed the incident, but denied the US forces drew their guns, and said they were “deeply concerned” by the attack on US consular personnel.
According to Awad Abu Samra, the Palestinian who filed the initial complaint and who accompanied the consular convoy, they fled the scene after a brief standoff, saying they were under strict orders not to engage Israeli settlers in any way. They never did investigate the olive tree vandalism.
Attacks on Palestinian olive trees are quite common, however, and settlers rarely deny such incidents. The Israeli police confirmed the attack on the consulate vehicles, and said an inquiry is underway, but that no arrests were made against the attacking settlers.
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