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U.S. Consulate desegregates security staff, Israeli guards quit in protest

Unnamed Israeli guards working for the American consulate in Jerusalem say it is irresponsible for the U.S. to train its Palestinian guards in tactical driving, weapons use, accuse it of ‘raising a Palestinian militia,’ Ynet reports.

Then American Mideast peace envoy George Mitchell exits an armored diplomatic vehicle at the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel, Gaza and Egypt, June 30, 2010. (Photo by ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock.com)

Then American Mideast peace envoy George Mitchell exits an armored diplomatic vehicle at the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel, Gaza and Egypt, June 30, 2010. (Photo by ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock.com)

A number of Israeli guards working for the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem quit in protest of a decision to arm and train Palestinian guards employed by the Consulate recently, according to Ynet.

Unnamed “sources,” presumably the disgruntled Israeli guards themselves, accused the Consulate’s chief security officer of “raising an armed militia of Palestinians,” according to the report.

The U.S. State Department has refused to directly address the reports, telling numerous Israeli news outlets that it “has complete faith in the professionalism of its staff.” State does not discuss the security of its diplomatic missions, it told the Times of Israel.

Based on the interviews with Ynet, it appears the Israel guards simply cannot fathom the idea that Palestinians can be trusted with defensive driving skills, let alone weapons.

“[The Palestinians are] trained in weapons use, Krav Maga and tactical driving,” the “source” told Ynet. “This is irresponsible. Who is ensuring that putting this weaponry in Palestinian hands will not lead to terror?”

Israel demands that armed non-American guards be IDF combat veterans, according to the report.

The American consulate, like a host of other countries’ consulates in Jerusalem, primarily serves the Palestinian territories and its officials regularly travel to Palestinian areas in the West Bank. (Because no country in the world recognizes Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem, foreign embassies are located in Tel Aviv.)

It’s not difficult to imagine why the consulate might be rethinking sending American diplomatic officials into Palestinian-controlled territories with armed Israeli army combat veterans. It would be logical for the consulate to employ Arabic-speaking Palestinian security officers and drivers for that work.

Earlier this month a U.S. consular convoy was attacked by stone-throwing Israeli settlers near the Palestinian village of Turmus Aya. The attack took place adjacent to where a Palestinian minister collapsed and later died after a confrontation with Israeli security forces in December.

Not all embassies employ Jewish-Israeli guards and drivers. In 2012, two Arab-Israeli drivers for the Japanese ambassador were not allowed out of their vehicles during a visit to the Israeli army’s headquarters in Tel Aviv. Jewish and Filipino drivers were permitted to exit their vehicles and wander around.

In 2003, three American diplomatic security contractors — American citizens — were killed when a U.S. convoy was hit by a roadside bomb in the Gaza Strip.

Related:
Judge: Equality in the West Bank, just not for Palestinians
When it comes to racist border policies, Israel has no leg to stand on

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    1. Bryan

      Where will this stop? If the US can be even-handed in its employment of Israeli and Palestinian security guards, is it too much to hope that it could become even-handed in its promotion of the peace process and its disbursement of US tax dollars. Perhaps next we will see the sale of militarized Caterpillar bulldozers so that the PA can removed illegal and unauthorized settlements and a ground-to-air missile system so the PA can resist incursions of its airspace.

      Reply to Comment
      • Wes

        Right On

        Reply to Comment
      • Moshe

        These Israeli guards will learnt that racism is against the law in the US and other Western democracies. Let them go and work for Lehava for one-tenth of their previous salaries.

        Reply to Comment
    2. Pedro X

      I wonder what Americans would think if Israel hired family members of Iraqi terrorists to provide security to Israeli diplomats in America?

      Maybe Israel should give similar training to North Korean security guards on American soil and see how they like it.

      Reply to Comment
      • Donough

        Except this isn’t terrorists being trained on Israeli soil is it?! Not in the eyes of the laws that govern the world. This is Palestinians being trained on Palestinian soil that sadly has been annexed by a group religious extremists who don’t recognise the right of Palestinian people to exist with equal rights. So your argument doesn’t stack up!

        Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        Palestinian = terrorist.
        Jew = moneybags.
        Blacks = lazy, shiftless.
        Japanese = cruel and inscrutable.

        Reply to Comment
        • valia

          You got it wrong
          Palestinians=Heroes
          Israelis=terrorist

          Reply to Comment
      • Lo

        So somehow, the Palestinians made it all the way to a job at the U.S. Consulate while never undergoing a background check?

        Or wait, it’s actually because Palestinians are a monolith, the entirety of which is formed by violent anti-Semites and terrorists. Like the Borg, individuals are simply drones in the hive mind, receiving their neural impulses directly from the Unimatrix in Gaza.

        Reply to Comment
      • Bryan

        Having full awareness of the difficult role, possibly having contact with fanatical and violent settlers and trigger-happy poorly trained and led and immature IDF conscripts, I would trust that your major (only) ally in the region would exercise the greatest care and caution in the selection, training and performance monitoring of its staff, lest any incident occur that would reflect badly upon American prestige. Or do you think the Americans are as much a bunch of cowboys as the IDF?

        Reply to Comment
      • James Currie

        Bullshit. Israel consistently tells the World that its Arab citizens have the same rights as any Israeli. . The action of these security guards just demonstrates that is a lie. Arabs are second class citizens, and the Israeli government is Nazi. The occupation and settlement of the West Bank is exactly analogous to ‘Lebensraum’.

        Reply to Comment
      • Kyle Renner

        You’re just hilarious, really. I bet if these guards who’re getting their panties in a bunch over “oh no Arabs” executed the Palestinians in question out of hand, you’d try and make some excuse for them doing so.

        You’ve no leg to stand on and you know it.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Driggs

      A lot of ins a lot of outs. Obviously a plus to have West Bank locals act as intermediaries with the population in the West Bank. But also a security risk to Americans. Ultimately, better American relations with the PA and its constituents means better security for Israel, so the “Palestinian militia” stuff is short-sighted.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Leo D.

      It is inconceivable that the US could trust their safety to Palestinian guards, arming second class citizens is a grave security concern to the Lukidniks. How dare the US government see these Palestinians as humans equal to other humans, ignoring Israeli concerns over ethnicity and religion.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Mikesailor

      Perhaps the US should tell the Israelis to either protect diplomatic staff in the West Bank or they will open a consulate in Ramallah. Of course that would mean recognizing a Palestinian state. The other option would be using US Marines with orders to open fire if they feel under attack with deadly force. Since those are the standing rules for the IDF and Border Police in the West Bank where stone-throwing is considered deadly force if Palestinians are the perpetrators, perhaps a few dead or wounded settlers would clarify the situation.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Mikesailor

      Pedro: Apparently these are not Palestinians but Arab-Israelis being trained and used. Are you going to tell me that Israeli citizens are somehow unworthy of employment as security? Or perhaps Israel really is a racist state? Only Jews allowed for this type of employment? And if those Jews refuse to work with non-Jewish Israelis, are the US and/or other countries to respect such racism? Your position makes no sense unless there is an apartheid system at work already.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Jan

      Wonder what ever happened to the supposed investigation promised by the Israelis after the attack on the American consulate officials by rock throwing settlers who were not even arrested?

      Maybe that is why the Embassy would like some Palestinian security. The Israeli security sure didn’t protect them from the settlers.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Crusty

      If the IDF guards didn’t protect embassy employees against “stone throwing settlers”, why should the Americans care about their feelings. The IDF didn’t do its job so they have no right to complain.

      Reply to Comment