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PHOTO: French diplomat at the feet of Israeli troops

A French diplomat and several of her European colleagues were manhandled today by Israeli troops near the recently demolished village of Khirbet al-Makhul in the West Bank, Reuters said. The diplomats were accompanying a truck of tents and emergency aid supplies, and the French diplomat, Marion Castaing, was physically dragged out of the truck and thrown to the ground in disregard of her diplomatic immunity. The troops then confiscated the truck and drove it away.

A picture, below, taken by an eyewitness at the scene (who wishes to remain anonymous) and sent to The National correspondent Hugh Naylor shows Castaing lying at the feet of armed troops. Judging by the uniform, the troops belong to the paramilitary Border Police, which handles much of the grunt jobs of the occupation.

French diplomat Marion Castaing lies at the feet of Israeli troops, West Bank, 20.9.2013. (photo provided by European aid worker who wished to remain anonymous)

The diplomat herself sounds understandably livid, commenting to Reuters that “this is how international law is respected here.” There has been no official comment from the French embassy as of yet.

The IDF issued an announcement a few hours later, alleging that ” dozens of Palestinian and European activists [sic] tried to set up an illegal outpost in an area close to the community of Hemdat. The Palestinian activists threw stones at IDF forces that arrived to evict them. Three rioters who refused to be evicted and attacked the soldiers were detained, and the truck was confiscated.” A Red Cross convoy that set out for the same village was stopped and turned back on Tuesday.

The original Reuters report seems to have been filed by correspondent Noah Browning, but the byline in subsequent reprints was amended to Crispian Balmer, the Reuters bureau chief for Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

Update (September 21, 12 p.m.):

The following video was uploaded by Palestinian filmmaker Enas I. al-Muthaffar. In the clip, there is no visible stone throwing or other violent activity on the side of the aid workers, diplomats or Palestinians prior to the arrests and use of stun grenades.

Correction:
This article originally questioned whether the border policeman’s weapon was pointed at Castaing in the above image. As can be seen in the image, the officer is simply holding the weapon at his side.

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Danny

      Perfect example of why E.U. must go ahead with their settlement boycott full steam ahead. Here’s hoping it is only the beginning.

      Reply to Comment
      • Tomas

        Stupidity.

        Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        This is a perfect example of the European diplomats having been granted too much leeway in their activity in Judea and Samaria. What they are doing here is nowhere near diplomatic activity and reeks of political interference and activism. What the hell are European diplomats doing trying to break into closed military zones in the West Bank?

        Reply to Comment
    2. The Trespasser

      Diplomats have no right to conduct any non-diplomatic activity, that is, approved by their state.

      There is a clear violation of Vienna convention by said diplomats.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gearoid

        How DARE they bring aid supplies to Palestinians?

        That is completely unacceptable!

        However confiscating aid supplies, manhandling diplomats, and lying about the incident are all completely acceptable from the Israeli perspective.

        You neo-fascists are disgusting.

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          How DARE European diplomats enter a closed military zone? Do they think that being European they can prance around anywhere in the world imposing their presence and views?

          You know what is disgusting? European diplomats who still think they can get away with telling everyone else what to do and then crying bloody foul when it is pointed out to them that they are just the emissaries of foreign countries whose primary function is to communicate between their own country and their host country and not to intervene directly in disputes on the ground.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gearoid

            Oh piss off you whiny fascist.

            According to reports, it wasn’t a closed military zone until AFTER the IDF decided to beat up a few diplomats and steal their things.

            Second, according to international and human decency, there is nothing wrong with providing humanitarian aid to the homeless. Particularly people that are homeless only because of the brutal indifference of the Occupation and the greed of a minority of far-right neo-fascists like yourself.

            Innocent people had their homes destroyed, their livestock scattered (and some killed), the school for their children destroyed. Then when some diplomats came to do the job that Israel is required to do under international law (provide for those under occupation), the IDF stopped them. From delivering aid to homeless children.

            The fact that you consider this acceptable tells me volumes about you. This is not acceptable. Anywhere. Take off your racist glasses and have the courage to look at the actions taken in your name with clear eyes you fascist coward.

            Reply to Comment
    3. Richard

      No effort here to understand what diplomatic immunity actually means. It doesn’t mean you are allowed to do whatever you want without being physically touched. Something tells me Dimi didn’t really bother looking this one up – disinformation, editorializing, but no reporting here.

      Reply to Comment
    4. About 150 THOUSAND Syrians were killed in the last two years – and no one gave s**t.

      Reply to Comment
      • Mukmak

        You know who cares the least about people killed in Syria? You. Because you’re cynically using them to deflect criticism away from the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. If really gave a s**t about Syria, you wouldn’t be using their plight as a hasbara tool.

        Reply to Comment
        • Paul

          I don’t care about the Syrians dying either. Both stories are of no consequence.

          Reply to Comment
        • Danny

          I absolutely despise people (mostly Israelis) who say “What about the poor people in Syria???”, as if they give a rat’s a$$ about them. I think a far more accurate attitude of Israelis concerning the war in Syria is: Let them kill each other, the more the better. I recall talk like that regarding the Iraq-Iran war when I lived in Israel during the 1980′s.

          Reply to Comment
          • rsgengland

            Showing the absolute violence in Syria and the almost total disregard shown by the so called liberals is disgusting.
            Couple this with the constant attention continuously directed at Israel by those same liberals, is a perfect example of Antisemitism at work.
            Arabs killing Arabs is a non story.
            Arabs confronting Jews, and the Jews responding is a news story.
            As I said, Double standards = Antisemitism.

            Reply to Comment
          • It’s the Israeli crimes that hardly ever make it to the main stream media, contrary to what is happening in Syria, which is covered every day in newspapers and on television. You are a dishonest person with a very scary world view.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            First, if a single Palestinian gets shot in the West Bank it is covered by all news sites within a few minutes. At this point it takes a chemical weapons attack in Syria to get the same media attention. Tell me Engelbert, are you as angry about the 200 people that were killed in Syria yesterday as you are about Israeli soldiers manhandling a French diplomat? If not, then which one of us really has the scary, disgusting view of the world?

            Reply to Comment
          • “if a single Palestinian gets shot in the West Bank” : After which there is an investigation and redress. I’ve seen the redress a whole lot.

            K9, your losing your integrity to make anonymous cheap shots on a left Israeli web site.

            Reply to Comment
    5. aristeides

      Waiting to see what the French govt does in reply.

      Reply to Comment
    6. It’s not that I’m new here, but when I see people condone this fascist behaviour of the most moral army in the world, I’m getting even more pessimistic about the future. These anti-Israel posters seem to be followers of Kahane, all of them. All stuck in their mental ghetto. This has nothing to do with Israel or Jewishness, it’s fascism plain and simple.

      Reply to Comment
      • rsgengland

        Not quite sure what makes these actions fascist.
        Saw today a picture of a bloodied Tibetan monk spreadeagled on the ground, being kicked by Chinese soldiers.
        That is probably a case of good liberal socialist love being administered.
        Maybe the dear French diplomat should get her associates in Syria to go out and actually save the lives of Syrians being murdered by those dear,gentle murderers from both the government and the rebels.
        Problem is they would get killed in Syria, while in Israel they will be back at the consulate in time for cocktails at five.
        The author could not have been in the army either, as the soldier is holding his weapon by the magazine, well away from the trigger [he would need both hands to change position to make his weapon usable in any manner].

        Reply to Comment
        • The BBC is normally reluctant to expose Israeli crimes, but there is one video they made about the killing of little children by soldiers while they were eating chocolat.
          People like you would still find a way to put the blame on the victims in such a case. You would still come up with some buddhist monk being beaten up, or some other buddhist monk slaughtering some Rohingya.
          If you stick to moral principles, it does not matter much where you put your energy at work, that only matters when you are denying and defending the crimes of your own tribe.

          Reply to Comment
    7. Unless Israel had priorly forbidden diplomatic travel in the area, these diplomats were merely acting as observers in the delivery of supplies. Even if the supplies were funded through the embassies or diplomats themselves, the immunity of the diplomats as observers should not be violate.

      Israel should simply forbid diplomatic entry into the West Bank. Boarder Guards cannot be expected to tailor their behavior to such intricacies (“Hulk smash unarmed woman for protection of the People!”). If the EU or US have a problem with this, given their sanctioned economic projects, Israel will just have to work it out.

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn9

        The IDF has declared a closed military zone in this area. Diplomats, acting as observers or otherwise, do not have immunity to enter such zones without Israeli permission.

        The IDF does not need to forbid diplomatic entry into the West Bank. It can, and does, however have the authority to enforce certain areas as no-go areas and did so in this case.

        Reply to Comment
        • Then all that is needed is a little anger management for some Boarder Guards.

          Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            Depends on what that French diplomat did. If she refused to comply then she got exactly what she deserved and it had nothing to do with the anger of the border guards.

            Reply to Comment
    8. Marcos

      Take that, Frenchie!

      Reply to Comment
    9. J.J.

      I see our ‘diplomat’ with her Prada bag and sunglasses, untouched, haul off and bitch slap the face of an IDF soldier.
      He doesn’t react.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QE44iKCy_zs

      Really Dimi. Using the still instead of the video is shoddy journalism.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Marcos

      Update (from Ha’aretz): The French government apparently did the right thing and is removing the so-called diplomat from her post.

      Reply to Comment
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