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Palestinians chase away German diplomat (VIDEOS)

The German ambassador to the Palestinian Authority has been hounded by an angry mob and forced to flee during a visit to Birzeit University in the West Bank. Media reports suggest students targeted the diplomat because of his country’s support for Israel in the war against Hamas.

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Video footage of the incident posted on social media shows Ambassador Oliver Owcza walking quickly to his vehicle as protestors follow and heckle him on Tuesday. Another clip shows a mob surrounding Owcza’s sport-utility vehicle, kicking it, ripping off a side mirror and throwing objects as it drives away.

Owcza was among a group of European envoys who were “attacked” while attending a meeting at the Palestinian National Museum, located on the Birzeit University campus north of Ramallah, according to the Jerusalem Post. Several of the ambassadors’ vehicles were damaged, including at least one that had the back window broken out.

One diplomat told Reuters that a crowd appeared outside the meeting, demanding that the envoys leave. He said attempts at speaking with the protestors were unsuccessful, and the visitors had to flee. No one was injured or seriously threatened, he added.

Germany has historically supported Israel politically and militarily. The Israeli military buys a large portion of its weaponry from Berlin. However, German leaders have been critical of Israeli policies and have given over €1 billion ($1.07 billion) in aid to the Palestinian Authority. They have advocated for the rights of Palestinians and pushed for a two-state peace deal.

Amr Kayed, a Birzeit University student, was quoted as saying the EU diplomats were forced to leave because “anyone complicit in genocide and the offensive on Gaza” is not welcome at the school.

Owcza downplayed the incident, saying in an X (formerly Twitter) post that “peaceful protest and dialogue always has its place.” He added, “We regret that today’s meeting of EU heads of missions at the National Museum in Birzeit was unduly interrupted by protestors. Nevertheless, we remain committed to constructively work with our Palestinian partners.”Delete

More than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza as the Israel-Hamas war is on track to enter its seventh month next week. The fighting was triggered by the October 7 raid by Hamas into southern Israel, which left some 1,200 people dead and more than 200 captives taken to Gaza.

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