Israel 'to act' over West Bank diplomats scuffle
- 24 September 2013
- From the section Middle East
Israel has threatened to take action against a French diplomat after video emerged of her lashing out at an Israeli border policeman.
The incident took place on Friday near the Bedouin village of Khirbet al-Makhul in the West Bank.
Israeli forces had prevented European and UN diplomats from delivering aid to residents whose homes were demolished under a High Court order.
Israel's Foreign Ministry says the diplomats were breaking the law.
It said that border police and IDF soldiers did not use force to remove a French diplomat, Marion Fesneau-Castaing, from her vehicle as had been reported. However in footage of events she could be seen raising her hand to a border police officer.
"Diplomats are sent by their governments to be a bridge and not act as provocateurs," the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"The European diplomats and their governments owe an explanation to this blatant violation of diplomatic codes of conduct. Israel has already made clear that Israel's response will reflect the seriousness of these violations."
The EU had earlier said it deplored the confiscation of the aid and demanded an explanation.
"The EU underlines the importance of unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance... in the occupied Palestinian territory," a statement read.
The homes in Khirbet al-Makhul were knocked down a week ago after Israel's High Court ruled that they had been built without the correct permits.
The Bedouin villagers of Khirbet al-Makhul had been refusing to leave the land where they say they have grazed sheep for generations.
The diplomats said that as soon as they arrived at the scene, around a dozen Israeli army jeeps converged on them and ordered them not to unload their lorry.
The Israeli authorities said that the intention to deliver tents could be seen as an effort to rebuild the village.
A spokesman for the British Consulate General in Jerusalem said it was "concerned at reports that the Israeli military authorities have prevented the affected community from receiving humanitarian assistance".
The spokesman added: "We have repeatedly made clear to the Israeli authorities our concerns over such demolitions, which we view as causing unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians; as harmful to the peace process; and as contrary to international humanitarian law."
The IDF said that on Friday stones were thrown at security forces and stun grenades were fired to disperse the crowd. Reuters said its reporters at the scene did not see any stones being thrown.