The US Consulate in Jerusalem is training a force of 35 Palestinians from East Jerusalem to serve as armed guards, particularly for consular trips to the West Bank’s Area A, which is off-limits to Israelis, it was reported on Wednesday.
The arrangement violates a 2011 agreement between Israel and the consulate, the Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth stated, whereby only IDF combat veterans would be authorized to carry arms as consulate guards.
“The consulate was authorized to keep roughly 100 handguns for security staff, on condition that they be either American diplomats or Israeli army veterans,” the paper’s Itamar Eichner wrote.
Additionally, Israeli guards at the consulate alleged that the Palestinians were being trained with firearms in Jericho at a Palestinian Preventative Security base and in the United States.
Regional Security Officer Dan Cronin, Israeli guards claimed, “is in effect setting up an armed Palestinian militia in the consulate. They are being trained with weapons, in Krav Maga, and tactical driving. It’s irresponsible. Who can guarantee that such weapons in the hands of Palestinians won’t spread to terror?”