British diplomat attacked by mob at West Bank university

The British envoy to East Jerusalem was attacked by a mob as he arrived at a West Bank university today by a group protesting against British policies toward Israel.

Sir Vincent Fean was forced to flee from the anti-Israel protesters at Birzeit University, near Ramallah, after students blocked his way and reportedly damaged his car.

The demonstration, which was arranged on Facebook, saw students turn on the British diplomat over Britain's "support of the Zionist entity" as well as its historic role in drafting the "the infamous Balfour Declaration".

Sir Vincent was due to speak about the European Union and had been invited by the university's sociology department. But the protesters demanded that the talk was cancelled, and when this did not happen staged a sit-in to stop it going ahead.

According to the Foreign Office, Sir Vincent had "hoped to underline Britain's deep commitment to a Palestinian state" during his address.

"Sadly, such a dialogue was not possible on this occasion," a representative told the Huffington Post UK. "He hopes he will have to opportunity to do that again in the near future."

Last week the diplomat was one of 28 European Union heads of mission to back a strongly critical report on Israeli settlement activities, which urged the EU to place limitations on the trade of goods produced in the west bank.

Last updated: 5:56pm, March 5 2013