Originally published in Tikkun Daily |
A Palestinian village home to 120 people had its houses, kindergarten and shepherding stables demolished this week by Israeli authorities. This came after the Supreme Court ruled its inhabitants – some of whom have lived on the land for generations – didn't have proper building permits.
The Palestinian Bedouin village of Khirbet Al-Makhul, located in the occupied territories, is the third such village to be demolished by Israel since August. After it was destroyed on Monday, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) attempted to deliver emergency aid to the displaced residents on Tuesday and Wednesday, but were stopped by Israeli soldiers.
When a collection of diplomats from France, Britain, Spain, Ireland, Australia and the European Union's political office arrived on Friday, they were met with force and sound grenades.
A Reuters reporter saw soldiers throw sound grenades at a group of diplomats, aid workers and locals in the occupied West Bank, and yank a French diplomat out of the truck before driving away with its contents.Unfortunately, the incident is making headlines not because of the village's destruction, but because Israeli authorities manhandled a collection of European diplomats. However, the real story here is that Israel – even as it begins the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians – continue to appropriate West Bank lands for settlements and 'military' purposes.
"They dragged me out of the truck and forced me to the ground with no regard for my diplomatic immunity," French diplomat Marion Castaing said. "This is how international law is being respected here."
"It's shocking and outrageous. We will report these actions to our governments," said one EU diplomat, who declined to be named because he did not have authorisation to talk to the media.
"(Our presence here) is a clear matter of international humanitarian law. By the Geneva Convention, an occupying power needs to see to the needs of people under occupation. These people aren't being protected," he said.
Image of French diplomat, Marion Castaing, on the ground. Photo by Hugh Naylor.
Additionally, this type of force is routinely used on Palestinians to either drive them from their own homes or to disrupt nonviolent protests held in their own villages against settlement expansions and land confiscations.
These actions by the IDF, not seen widely or understood by the American public, are being highlighted today after unnecessary and inappropriate force was used against a group of diplomats.
Force used against Palestinians on a daily basis.
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, now out from Oneworld Publications.