EU demands answers after diplomats manhandled by Israeli soliders

Published September 22nd, 2013 - 06:36 GMT
A Palestinian protester hurls a smoke grenade back at Israeli soldiers during clashes in Betunia near the West Bank city of Ramallah on September 20, 2013 (AFP)
A Palestinian protester hurls a smoke grenade back at Israeli soldiers during clashes in Betunia near the West Bank city of Ramallah on September 20, 2013 (AFP)

Israel has been asked by top European Union officials on Saturday to explain why its soldiers seized a truckload of humanitarian aid intended for Palestinians.

On Friday, Israeli soldiers manhandled European diplomats and seized emergency aid that was intended to be delivered to Palestinians whose homes were demolished this week, Reuters news agency reported.

EU officials said they deplored the confiscation of the aid.

“EU representatives have already contacted the Israeli authorities to demand an explanation and expressed their concern at the incident,” a statement issued by the spokesmen for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva said on Saturday.

Israeli soldiers were seen by a Reuters reporter throwing sound grenades at a group of diplomats, aid workers and locals in the occupied West Bank.

A French diplomat was seen being “yanked” out of the truck by soldiers before they drove it away.

Relations between Israel and the EU have been tense over the EU’s decision in July to bar financial assistance to Israeli organizations operating in the occupied territories from next year.


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