Update: All Palestinians Arrested in Saffa Released on Bail

10 April 2010

11 Arrested, Including 2 Palestinians from PSP, in Saffa Protest Against Settlement Expansion

Saturday afternoon a group of around 50 farmers and residents of Saffa attempted to remove a stone and concrete structure erected on their land by settlers from Bat Ayn. The farmers were accompanied by members of PSP, the National Committee of Beit Ommar, Israeli activists and members of the international press.

On arrival at the structure, which was being guarded by 3 jeeps of soldiers of Israeli army, the Palestinians began to take the structure down. The soldiers forced the farmers away from the site into nearby trees where a number of the group sat down and refused to move from their land. A group of 6 soldiers arrested Mousa Abu Maria, coordinator and co-founder of PSP and member of the National Committee of Beit Ommar, and dragged him 40 metres to a jeep and threw him inside. Younes Arrar, another member of the National Committee of Beit Ommar, was the next Palestinian to be arrested by the Israeli soldiers. Further arrests were made of Israeli activists and local farmers. Mohammed Awwad, the spokesperson for Palestine Solidarity Project who was filming the aggressive behaviour of the soldiers, was dragged to the ground by the neck where he lay motionless and was dragged to another jeep. In total 5 Palestinians and 6 Israelis were arrested during the non-violent action – the only violence was shown by the Israeli forces who used disproportionate force against the farmers.

The soldiers cleared journalists and press from the scene, shoving them forcibly away and stopping them recording the arrests. Stun grenades were thrown directly at the press and several dozen tear gas grenades were fired at the farmers and press as they retreated to Saffa.