Palestinian students force British envoy out of West Bank lecture

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 05, 2013 10:23 AM

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Dozens of Palestinian students at a West Bank university heckled a British diplomat and attacked his car on Tuesday, preventing him from speaking on campus.

British Consul-General Sir Vincent Fean was mobbed by students at Bir Zeit University who chanted and held banners protesting what they said was Britain's support for the establishment of Israel and its policies.

Campus security guards shielded Fean from several dozen protesters as the diplomat, maintaining a slight smile, made his way to his car before being driven off unharmed.

Some of the students banged and kicked the vehicle, which had been covered in demonstrators' placards.

Fean had been scheduled to meet students at the university, one of the West Bank's most prominent schools, and discuss Britain's Middle East policies.

"Sir Vincent had hoped to underline Britain's deep commitment to the creation of a Palestinian state, and the urgency of progress on the peace process in 2013," said a spokesman for the British Consulate-General in East Jerusalem.

"Sadly, such a dialogue was not possible on this occasion."

In a statement, Bir Zeit also voiced regret that Fean had not been able to speak.

(Reporting by Ali Sawafta; Writing by Ori Lewis in Jerusalem; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Jon Hemming)