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West Bank settlers suspected in stoning of US diplomatic cars

The US diplomats were reportedly on their way to investigate claims that Israeli settlers destroyed 5,000 olive saplings
Olive trees are a major source of income and agricultural production in historic Palestine (MEE / Rich Wiles)

A US diplomatic convoy visiting the West Bank to investigate a complaint by Palestinian farmers over vandalism of olive trees was pelted with stones by suspected Jewish settlers Friday, Israeli police said.

"According to initial findings, settlers threw stones at the US consular vehicles near the Adei Ad illegal settlement, close to the Palestinian village of Turmus Ayya," northeast of the town of Ramallah, a spokeswoman said.

"There was no damage and the convoy continued on its route," the spokeswoman said.

She said the diplomats were apparently on a mission, which was not coordinated with Israeli security forces, to assess "damage caused by acts of vandalism in an olive orchard of Turmus Ayya".

They were acting on Palestinian complaints that settlers had uprooted 5,000 olive saplings planted on land recovered after a years-long legal battle, according to local daily Haaretz.

There was no comment available from the US consulate in Jerusalem.

The incident took place in the same sector where a senior Palestinian official, Ziad Abu Ein, was killed on 10 December in clashes with the Israeli army during a protest against Israeli settlement building and confiscation of Palestinian lands.

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