Israel to Expel French Diplomat who Punched IDF Soldier
A French diplomat who physically attacked an Israeli soldier during a demonstration in support of illegal Bedouin squatters will be deported from Israel, an official has told the Israel Hayom paper.
He added, however, that it was "an isolated incident that does not characterise relations" between Israel and France.
Marion Fesneau-Castaing, France's cultural attache to its consulate in Jerusalem, punched the soldier in the face during scuffles around an illegal encampment set up by local and foreign activists in the Jordan Valley.
EU officials initially issued a condemnation against Israel over the incident, as reports by anti-Israel activists claimed Israeli forces had used violence against a convoy delivering "humanitarian aid," and had physically assaulted the French diplomat.
However, a video of the incident emerged showing a very different story - including footage of Castaing punching a soldier in the face, as well as remarkable restraint on behalf of IDF personnel in the face of provocation by Arab and European activists.
That footage provoked an angry response by the Israeli Foreign Ministry which condemned "European diplomats' blatant violation of the law, their disregard to a ruling of the Israeli court and their unnecessary provocation under the alleged pretext of humanitarian aid."
Fesneau-Castaing will be deported from the country before the end of the year.