U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv Unwittingly Sends Settlement Wine as Rosh Hashanah Gift

'This should in no way be interpreted as a change of our policy on settlements, which is long-standing and clear,' embassy official says after diplomatic slip up.

REUTERS - As diplomatic faux-pas go, it's a delicate one.
Ahead of the Jewish new year in October, the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv sent gift baskets to a number of Israeli organisations, as it does every year. Among the recipients was Peace Now, a group opposed to Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
There was only one problem - among the gifts in the basket was a bottle of wine made in an Israeli settlement.
"I'm sure it was an honest mistake," said a member of Peace Now, one of several NGOs to receive the basket, emphasizing that the organisation did not want to make a fuss about it.
An embassy official confirmed the baskets had been sent out, saying they were purchased from a vendor who put together the contents, which were not checked before distribution.
"This should in no way be interpreted as a change of our policy on settlements, which is long-standing and clear," the official said.
The U.S. State Department has repeatedly stated its opposition to Israel's settlement building, which it regards as an obstacle to any peace with the Palestinians.
The wine in the basket was from Mishor Adumim, a settlement east of Jerusalem. It was a kosher cabernet sauvignon from the Zion Winery, according to another recipient.
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.743038
Schermata 2016 09 20 alle 08.58.01

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police




The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

Boycott Israeli diamond