MAKHUL, Palestinian Territories (AFP) – Israeli troops on Friday manhandled a group of European diplomats as they tried to hand out tents to Palestinian Bedouins whose West Bank homes were destroyed by the army.
The troops used force to disperse the diplomats who had accompanied aid workers to the village of Makhul in the Jordan Valley, an AFP photographer said.
French diplomat Marion Fesneau-Castaing was dragged out of an aid truck, the photographer said.
A European diplomatic source said the woman was yanked out of the truck by Israeli soldiers who later confiscated the vehicle.
The source, who declined to be named, said diplomats from France, Britain, Greece, Ireland, Spain and Sweden had accompanied aid workers to Makhul to help hand out tents to the Bedouins.
"There was an attempt to erect tents... but the security forces intervened to impose a Supreme Court decision," an army spokeswoman told AFP, adding that three Palestinians were arrested after stone-throwing.
The army on Monday demolished property built by the Bedouins in Mahul, after the court ruled they had been erected without building permits and declared the area a "closed military zone".
The move forced the displacement of 10 families, including 16 children, the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.
The UN's humanitarian coordinator James Rawley expressed "deep concern" over Friday's incident and the demolitions that evicted Palestinians from their property.
"The United Nations and its partners remain committed to providing humanitarian assistance to populations in immediate need," Rawley said, after Israeli troops prevented the distribution of aid.
"I call upon the Israeli authorities to live up to their obligations as occupying power to protect those communities under their responsibility, including to halt demolitions of Palestinian homes and property," he added.
"The displacement of a whole Palestinian community in the occupied Palestinian territory is a very disappointing development at such a delicate moment where we look forward to positive measures on the ground," he said in reference to the resumption in July of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.
Palestinians have said the Israeli army also prevented the Red Cross from pitching tents for them earlier this week.
Mahul is in an area of the West Bank under full control of the army, which rarely issues building permits.
Israel has destroyed more than 500 property owned by Palestinians in the West Bank and mostly Arab east Jerusalem since the beginning of this year, displacing 862 people, according to OCHA.