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.
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.