Palestinian land owners detained for asserting their rights; accompanying Internationals arrested

9 March 2009

From CPT Tuwani

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

At 11:30 am, Sunday, 8 March, Israeli police detained 19 Palestinians who were trying to access their land near the village of Um al-Khayr. The police also arrested two Christian Peacemaker Teams members (CPTers) and charged them with obstruction and trespass, despite them being invited to the land by the Palestinian landowners.

Palestinians from the village observed workers using road building
equipment on Palestinian owned land near the Israeli settlement of Karmel – the settlement sits adjacent to Um al-Kheir. When the Palestinians and CPTers approached the work area, an Israeli settlement security guard began to shout, demanding they leave. When they remained on their land he contacted the Israeli army and police. At 12 pm, Israeli police detained the Palestinians for 45 minutes at the scene. They also arrested the CPTers and transported them to Kiryat Arba Police Station outside Hebron, where they charged them with trespassing and obstructing the construction work. The CPTers were at least 10 metres away from the construction vehicles and were accompanying the Palestinian landowners on their land.
Neither the army nor police asked the Palestinians for papers to ascertain the true ownership of the land. A hearing has been scheduled for Monday, 9 March at 9:00 am.

Um al-Kheir villagers report that work they observed is expanding Karmel settlement and threatening their land and livelihood.