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Saturday, May 07, 2011

US consulate in Jerusalem spying on Samaria residents?

Is the US consulate in Jerusalem trying to spy on Jewish residents of Samaria? That's certainly what it sounds like from this story.
The story began about a month ago, when Jonathan Cullen, Political Officer at American Consulate in Jerusalem, phoned a resident of the town of Yitzhar and asked to visit the community.

“He said he wanted to meet with me,” said Avraham Binyamin, “as well as with the rabbis of the Od Yosef Chai (Joseph Still Lives) yeshiva, and to hear about the book Torat HaMelekh.” Binyamin told INN that he feared that the request had an ulterior motive, as the book in question has aroused much controversy and opposition; it deals with “Jewish warfare in Jewish Law,” including discussions of if and when Jewish Law permits killing enemy civilians.

Upon further investigation, Binyamin found that his instincts were correct: Cullen had been “caught red-handed” several months earlier touring the Shomron and taking photos of Jewish towns together with the head of Peace Now’s Settlement Tracking Committee, Hagit Ofran .

David HaIvri of the Shomron Regional Council's Liaison Office, who was personally acquainted with Cullen, asked the consular officer at the time, “Are you a spy?”

Binyamin informed Cullen, just a few days ago, that he did not want to meet with him, and that if wished to pursue the matter, he should do so via conventional channels.

Binyamin later explained why he felt the American's behavior is unacceptable: “If the Americans want to act as fair interlocutors, they have to be fair – and not act like a group of con-men who conceal information from their dialogue partners… They are trying every which way they can to find out internal information – and are essentially spying on the Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria.”
There's much more to it - read the whole thing.

More on the activities of the American consulate in Jerusalem here. More on Cullen's activities here.

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