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Israeli soldiers attack convoy of diplomats overseeing aid delivery

January 30, 2014 at 10:44 am

A convoy of diplomats was allegedly attacked by Israeli soldiers on Friday as they oversaw the delivery of humanitarian aid to Palestinians whose West Bank homes had been destroyed.

The villagers of Khirbet Makhul, in the Jordan Valley, had been forcibly removed from their homes following a high court decision. Since Monday they have been without shelter in 35 degree heat.

The convoy accompanied a delivery of tents after a previous delivery from the International Committee of Red Cross was prevented by the Israeli military.

After reaching the village, eight to nine military vehicles intercepted the humanitarian aid, and reportedly dragged a French diplomat from the aid truck, dropping her to the ground. The remaining members of the group were dispersed using sound grenades.

The Israeli army, in response to the claims, told MEMO’S reporter that the soldiers had acted with the correct dispersal methods following Palestinian and foreign activists throwing stones and striking army personnel.

“Earlier today, following an attempt to illegally erect tents, security personal responded with the correct dispersal methods,” said an Israeli army spokesperson.

“The reports that foreign diplomats abused their diplomatic privileges are being investigated,” she said.

A humanitarian worker observing the aid delivery said, “The diplomats were simply observing the delivery of aid and the Israeli army responded unnecessarily and violently.”

Meanwhile, Shawan Jabarin  the General Director of the human rights organisation Al-Haq said: “Al-Haq commends attempts made yesterday by EU, Australian and Brazilian diplomats and UN officials to deliver aid to the Bedouin community of Makhul, located in the Jordan Valley. The demolition of the Makhul community structures, as sanctioned by the Israeli High Court of Justice, is part of Israel’s wider attempt to expand its illegal settlement enterprise while simultaneously ensuring the de-development of Palestinian communities and facilitating their forcible transfer. The fulfilment of Israel’s duties and obligations under international humanitarian law require that its policies in the occupied territory are implemented for the benefit of the occupied population. Israel’s planning and zoning regime, however, exclusively facilitates its own interests, including the construction and expansion of settlements, while clearly disregarding the needs of the occupied population, who are regularly dispossessed of their land and their access to natural resources.”