Beyond the Cusp

January 5, 2015

Why Were United States Consulate Security Taking Part in a Planned Provocation?


The story revolving around Jewish village of Adei Ad in Samaria goes back over the years but perhaps the best starting point might be the Arab planned confrontation on Wednesday the 10th of December, 2014. During the confrontation with IDF (Israeli Defense Force) troops, an officer from the semiautonomous Arab government in Ramallah, Ziad Abu Ein, suffered a fatal heart attack. Earlier during the confrontation Ziad Abu Ein, who had previously held the post of Deputy Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs within the semiautonomous Arab government in Ramallah, had confronted several IDF soldiers though there was no corroboration of the Arab claims that the IDF troops beat him to death. The IDF forces had to resort to the use of tear gas which may have had some effects leading to his heart attack but it is fairly certain that no troops had beaten or struck Ziad Abu Ein, thus being a direct cause of his heart attack. Ziad Abu Ein was the leader of this confrontation where the IDF troops were assaulted hoping to goad them into assaulting any of the Arabs confronting the troops as there was an AFP (Agency France Press) witnessing the provocation in the hopes of capturing any Israeli use of force. Such forceful acts which the AFP camera person would have taken to display Israeli violence would have made a news report claiming that the IDF soldier’s actions were not a result of Arab provocations. This particular afternoon the IDF, as is normally the case as they have excellent training and self-discipline, did not respond to provocations thus there was no video recording an Israeli soldier using force of any kind, let alone striking Ziad Abu Ein or anybody else with their rifle butts as was claimed. There was one part of the story which was accurate and that was that IDF medical personnel responded when it was established that such was required as preserving life is their duty and responsibility in such situations when responding to provocations.


Moving forward in time there had been a number of other incidents where equipment or animals such as sheep and horses had been stolen by neighboring Arabs from the town. Whenever such thefts were reported the residents of Adei Ad were told the same excuse each time, namely that any criminal act from the Arab villages surrounding Adei Ad was beyond their jurisdiction and that such matters were the responsibility of the IDF. Meanwhile, the IDF would tell them this was a police matter and they should report these thefts to the police. On the other hand, every complaint filed by the Arabs after each theft claiming the Jewish settlers had attempted to steal the animals or equipment from the Arab villages were handled immediately. The most recent accusation which led to the incident which led to the standoff with the Arabs was their initial claim that the Jewish settlers from Adei Ad had uprooted five-thousand olive tree saplings. Such a claim is beyond belief yet this is what was reported Thursday night by the PA’s Bethlehem based Maan News service. Follow-up reports used a revised number of five-hundred, still a monumental feat in and of itself. Olive trees are especially difficult to uproot even with heavy farm equipment and a report of even just fifty would have been quite an accomplishment yet the claim of five-hundred has become the official Arab complaint. It is interesting that there has been no evidence of such an event, not even a photograph of a single up-rooted olive tree. This unverified incident is apparently what has been at the center of the events which culminated with the confrontation between the residents of Adei Ad and the Arabs of late.


That brings us to last Friday late in the afternoon just before the beginning of Shabbat. The residents witnessed a group of Arabs from one of the neighboring villages approaching their village of Adei Ad with two vehicles and some Westerners who the residents assumed were European activists as such was the most likely scenario considering that European anarchists and leftists often join in provocations with the Arab townspeople. The fact that they were approaching the town a mere two hours before sundown and the onset of Shabbat made the whole incident appear as an attempted provocation to be even more logical as often such provocations are perpetrated right before the Sabbath or during the Sabbath as such times the Israeli Jews are preparing for or observing the Sabbath and thus not as likely to be prepared to mount a response. Still, at the sign of the advancing Arabs with a contingent of others with a Western appearance and the two vehicles, some of the townspeople intercepted them to ascertain what their intentions were. The group of Arabs was determined to be several residents of the Arab village of Turmus Ayya and was approaching together with the two vehicles and some Westerners unannounced on an area within fifty meters of Adei Ad’s southwestern edge. There had been no coordination with the townspeople of Adei Ad nor with the police nor with the IDF making this appear even more so to be another confrontation potentially organized and instigated by the European appearing foreigners. This is where two contradictory story lines emerge. According to the residents of Adei Ad when the arguments became heated and voices elevated, one of the Westerners pulled his handgun and almost immediately after another Westerner stepped from one of the cars pointing an M-16 at the Jewish residents. The residents immediately called for their security personnel as this was rapidly spinning out of control. At this point the Westerners decided that a hasty retreat was in order and they all got into their vehicles and departed the scene. At this point the residents were still uncertain as to whom the armed Westerners were and it was not until investigators came to get their side of the story did they learn that their stand-off was with security personnel from the United States Consulate in Jerusalem.


After the Western appearing men leave the Arabs also beat a hasty retreat. Not long after the IDF arrive to investigate the reports they received from the United States Consulate security detail. It is at this point that the residents of Adei Ad learned that the Westerners were in fact Americans from the Jerusalem Consulate. When the residents report about the pulling of weapons by the American personnel they are informed that the Consulate personnel insisted that there were no weapons pulled and that the Jewish residents escalated the event. Everything has been on a heightened level since the heart attack and death of Ziad Abu Ein at a previous provocation with the IDF just south of Adei Ad, which made the standoff between the residents and the security personnel from the United States Consulate, which could have gone very wrong once the security personnel from Adei Ad arrived on the scene and witnessed the firearms at the ready which they felt very fortunately that the armed men retreated and the provocation did not result in a shootout between the two groups of armed personnel, one from Adei Ad and the other the Consulate who accompanied the Arabs from Turmus Ayya. As if things could not get any stranger, there was an interesting manner in which the meeting between the security from the American Consulate in Jerusalem had with the IDF after they reported the incident once they were clear of the area. The IDF personnel reported that the Consulate personnel appeared to act sheepish and, in an unprompted response where no question about weapons had been initiated, they immediately were insisting they hadn’t drawn their weapons during the confrontation at Adei Ad. It seemed quite strange that such a comment would be given when no mention or even reference had been approached, and have that be the first piece of evidence they had wished to establish.


Most of the rest of the information available were the comments made by the residents of Adei Ad to the media or to officials. There have been assurances that this investigation be continued and all evidence points to this being an ongoing investigation. Marc Prowisor, a resident of the nearby town of Shiloh as well as being Director of the One Israel Fund charity which helps secure local communities state that the latest confrontation posed some “difficult questions.” He asked, “Were members of the American Consulate knowingly taking part in a larger provocation: which is against the law?” We can only assume the answer to his question is that it is against the law and even if not, it is definitely something that on revue can only be determined to be against the better thought for presumably trained United States Consulate personnel who should be aware of sensitivities in these matters. A member of the Adei Ad security detail commented asking to remain anonymous pointed to the fact that he observed an American “with ginger hair” was seen pointing his pistol at the unarmed residents from inside of his car after rolling down the window. The other armed man then did the same with an M-16 rifle. This was when the situation threatened to get out of control. Fortunately for all involved the Americans retreated into their vehicles and left the scene after which the Arabs from the town of Turmus Ayya also chose to leave hastily. He also pointed out, “News spread that some people had approached the town with weapons, and they called us.” He followed up pointing out that 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 residents (of Adei Ad) until the army arrived.” He also was confused and asked as to, “Why didn’t they call anyone while the confrontation was going on?” Yes, why did they not call during the event or even better yet, why did they not call and arrange for the entire episode be escorted by IDF personnel to guard against anything like what transpired. It begs the question as to were the people from the United States Consulate intending to cause a confrontation for some unfathomable reason or were the Arabs hoping to cause a shootout between the Jewish residents of Adei Ad and the security personnel from the American Consulate to cause an international incident in the hopes of causing Israel to have increased difficulties with the United States? This would be especially troubling seeing as the Israelis are in the midst of an election cycle and the Knesset has been dissolved until new elections are held March 17.


The residents of Adei Ad were quite willing to give a more complete picture of the recent events. The Consulate delegation had apparently been “invited” by Palestinian Arabs from Turmus Ayya to be witness to the uprooted olive tree saplings, as to whether the number of trees would be five-thousand, five-hundred, fifty or just five was undeterminable. It also appears that a number of the residents of the Arab town of Turmus Ayya have American citizenship which was presumably why the Consulate was so interested in making witness to the grievous complaint in the case made for the visitation to be able to verify the Arab claims of an “attack” by Adei Ad residents on their olive orchard. With the escalation causing the retreat of the Consulate personnel before they could be shown the damaged orchard and the trees strew on the ground, there has still been no independent verification of the evidence of the alleged damage. The residents of Adei Ad are livid claiming that the whole affair was clearly a planned provocation and have expressed their astonishment at the conduct of the Consulate personnel with their brandishing firearms in such a threatening manner. They are also quite concerned that armed personnel from anywhere would appear with Arabs approaching their areas where it is known that there are contested claims and accusations making the area a highly volatile situation into which foreign intervention being made without any notification to the IDF, police or the security or other personnel from Adei Ad arranging for their presence in the first place. The heightened situation has caused the Arabs to demand IDF protection when they tend to their fields claiming they fear assaults from the Jewish residents from Adei Ad while also lodging complaints against the residents of Adei Ad every time there has been a theft or damage to equipment by the Arabs against the property of the people of Adei Ad simply to force the police to weigh counter claims when the residents in Adei Ad file a complaint siting damaged equipment or worse, stolen animals and equipment. This tactic is practice of making a complaint immediately after stealing property or damaging crops or other items by the Arabs against Jewish farmers in Judea, Samaria and the Galilee. This practice is reinforced as the police simply use the Arab claim as a tool to claim both sides report similar harm and nothing resulted from investigations thus the matter is dropped.


One of the Jewish residents of Adei Ad explained the reasoning as to why they suspected this was a provocation and not an attempt to gain witness to the damaged olive trees explaining, “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 a serious incident with the heart attack and resulting death of Ziad Abu Ein) that’s a sign that they are coming to cause trouble… to attack or damage property.” He further expressed a complaint shared by many of his fellow residents stating, “We receive no backing from the police. 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 explained the attitude of he and his fellow residents both in Adei Ad and the other surrounding Jewish towns pointing out, “We have much better things to do with our lives; we have our children and families, and we have jobs. 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.”


That brings us back to the incident with the Arabs’ attempt to provoke an incident between the residents and the American security personnel which would have caused an ‘event of difficulty’ between the Israeli government and the United States government, particularly between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama, a strained relationship which does not need help in causing difficulties, as well as causing strife between the Israeli officials and the residents of Adei Ad for embroiling them in a tense situation with the United States. That leaves us at the ensuing investigation which will pit the word of the residents of Adei Ad against the denials of the American Consulate in Jerusalem. Thus far the residents and security responders from Adei Ad all agree that the United States Consulate personnel drew weapons while the Consulate has denied any weapons were drawn during the standoff. The investigation is proceeding but our bet is that the result will be indeterminate and will draw no conclusions about weapons and whether they were drawn or had no part in this unfortunate turn of events, a similar statement will be made by the Americans and everybody can continue on and no hard feelings all around. I do love happy endings.


Beyond the Cusp


1 Comment »

  1. Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.


    Comment by OyiaBrown — January 5, 2015 @ 4:44 AM | Reply

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