The European Union demanded that Israel explain the IDF mistreatment of some European diplomats who went with aid organizations
to deliver tents to Palestinian
families in the Jordan Valley.
The homes of the Palestinians were
destroyed by Israel on Monday morning in compliance with a High Court of Justice
The violence occurred as the IDF pulled a french diplomat and Palestinians out of a truck with new tent supplies for the Palestinian families, so they could confiscate it.
Photographs from the incident show the french diplomat on the ground, after she was pulled from the truck.
The Foreign Ministry on Saturday night sent The Jerusalem Post
an 11-second video clip in which the French diplomat can be seen punching a soldier in the face once she gets up from the ground.
But a Reuters reporter saw soldiers on Friday throw sound grenades at a group of diplomats, aid workers and Palestinians.
A seven minute video posted on YouTube shows multiple incidents in which the IDF acted violently toward foreigners and Palestinians during the events.
policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Saturday, “The EU deplores the
confiscation of humanitarian assistance carried out by Israeli security forces
yesterday in Khirbet al-Makhul."
“EU representatives have already
contacted the Israeli authorities to demand an explanation and expressed their
concern at the incident. The EU underlines the importance of unimpeded
delivery of humanitarian assistance and the applicability of international
humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territory,” Ashton
According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson, the French
Foreign Ministry has spoken with Israel’s ambassador to France over the
incident. There was also a conversation between the EU and Foreign Ministry
Deputy Director General Rafi Schutz, Hirschson said.
The incident is not
over, Hirschson said. Israel is upset over the way diplomats acted in the
incident, particularly the striking of an officer, he said.
said, “are sent to countries to build bridges, not act as
But French diplomat Marion Castaing described for Reuters
how the IDF mistreated her.
“They dragged me out of the truck and forced
me to the ground with no regard for my diplomatic immunity,” Castaing
“This is how international law is being respected here,” she said, covered with dust.
Locals said Khirbet Al-Makhul was home to
about 120 people. The army demolished their ramshackle houses, stables and a
kindergarten on Monday after the High Court of Justice ruled that they did not
have proper building permits.
Despite losing their property, the
inhabitants have refused to leave the land where, they say, their families have
lived for generations along with their flocks of sheep.
The Israeli army
said on Friday that security forces had tried to prevent tents from being
erected in area, in accordance with the court decision.
“At the site,
Palestinians and the foreign activists violently objected, throwing stones and
striking law enforcement officers,” a military spokeswoman said.
that foreign diplomats abused their diplomatic privileges are currently being
reviewed, and if required, complaints will be filed with the relevant
The French diplomat jabbed a soldier in the face after
picking herself up off the ground. Reuters reporters at the scene said they saw
no stone throwing or foreign activists.
Israeli soldiers stopped the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delivering emergency aid on
Tuesday and on Wednesday ICRC staff managed to put up some tents but the army
forced them to take the shelters down.
Diplomats from France, Britain,
Spain, Ireland, Australia and the European Union’s political office, turned up
on Friday with more supplies.
As soon as they arrived, about a dozen
Israeli army jeeps converged on them, and soldiers told them not to unload their
“It’s shocking and outrageous. We will report these actions to our
governments,” said one EU diplomat, who declined to be named because he was not
authorized to talk to the media.
In scuffles between soldiers and locals,
several villagers were detained. An elderly Palestinian man fainted and was
taken for medical treatment to a nearby ambulance.
A spokesman at the
British Consulate General in Jerusalem said London was “seriously concerned” by
the Makhul demolitions and by the subsequent refusal to let villagers receive
“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,” he said.
Organization Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi wrote a letter to France’s
consul general in which she called on his country to hold Israel accountable for