Israel probing claim French diplomat roughed up
Jerusalem: Israel is probing allegations that a French diplomat was roughed up by Israeli soldiers at a West Bank protest and says it might file a complaint over her involvement.
Human Rights Watch cited witnesses as saying that Marion Castaing, was taken out of a truck and thrown to the ground. He said she was among European diplomats accompanying the group as it delivered tents to Bedouin whose shacks had been demolished.
Bedouins in Khirbet Al-Meiteh in the Jordan valley say they have lived there for decades. Israel says they built structures there illegally without permits.
The Israeli military said soldiers were enforcing a court order against illegal building in the area, but it is looking into the incident. It said forces used non-lethal riot dispersal means when the Palestinian protesters assaulted the forces with rocks.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson said a formal complaint might be filed with the French over the diplomat`s involvement. "If she did participate then a formal complaint will be filed because that is not the way diplomats behave," he said.
The French embassy declined comment, and Castaing could not immediately be reached for comment. Rights groups say the shacks were dismantled earlier this week.
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator James Rawley issued a statement expressing "deep concern" over the incident and calling upon Israeli authorities to "live up to their obligations as occupying power to protect those communities under their responsibility."
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