TEL AVIV, January 3, 2015 – (WAFA) – The US State Department Friday expressed concerns over Israeli settlers’ stoning of US diplomatic convoy by settlers near the Ramallah village of Turmus ‘Ayya on Friday, reported Haaretz.
The Israeli newspaper quoted Director of the Office of Press Relations at the State Department Jeff Rathke as expressing his country’s ‘deep concerns’ over the attacking of US diplomats by settlers near the village.
Rathke noted that his country takes the safety and security of its personnel ‘very seriously’.
Armed settlers from the illegal settlement outpost of Adei Ad near Ramallah pelting US consulate convoy with rocks, prompting American security guards to drew their weapons at the settlers.
The US consular delegation, along with security personnel, were making a visit to the area after receiving an invitation from Palestinian officials and farmers in Turmus ‘Ayya village, northwest of Ramallah, to examine thousands of olive tree saplings that were uprooted by settlers overnight.
Some of the olive saplings were planted recently in Palestinian-owned land to mark the recent death of Minister Ziad Abu Ein, whose death was triggered by Israeli soldiers’ violence.
The US consular delegation was invited to examine the area with their own eyes because some of the land owners affected hold US citizenship. The consul-general was not part of the delegation.
Security personnel arrived on the farmlands to examine any security risks at the scene while the US delegation waited in the village. Settlers exited the outpost and hurled rocks at the US consular armored vehicles, triggering a confrontation.
The confrontation escalated; during which the US security personnel drew an M16 and a sidearm.
The US consular visit to the site was canceled after the attack.