21 September 2013, 03:32

EU, UN diplomats roughed by Israeli troops

Израиль Западный Берег

Diplomats from a number of European countries and the UN have reacted angrily after Israeli soldiers intervened to prevent them delivering aid to Bedouins in the West Bank.

One French diplomat said she was forced to the ground from her vehicle.

The aid was being delivered to Khirbet al-Makhul after homes there were demolished under a High Court order.

An Israeli spokesman said it was reviewing whether the diplomats had abused their privileges.

The homes in Khirbet al-Makhul were knocked down on Monday after Israel's High Court ruled that they had been built without the correct permits.

BBC Middle East correspondent Kevin Connolly, in Jerusalem, says the Bedouin villagers of Khirbet al-Makhul have refused to leave the land where they say they have grazed sheep for generations.

The diplomats said that as soon as they arrived, around a dozen Israeli army jeeps converged on them and ordered them not to unload their truck.

UN Humanitarian coordinator James Rawley said the Israeli authorities should "live up to their obligations as occupying power to protect those communities under their responsibility".

The first direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in three years were held in Jerusalem last month.

Palestinians have accused the Israeli authorities of taking their lands, and Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem continue to cast a shadow over the process.

The aim of the talks is to negotiate an end to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on the so-called two-state solution - a Palestinian state existing alongside Israel.

Voice of Russia, BBC

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