Israeli Soldiers Detain Farmers in Safa, Arrest International Activist

29 May 2011

In the evening hours of Saturday, May 28, Israeli soldiers stopped a group of farmers in the Safa region of Beit Ommar from proceeding to their lands to harvest grape leaves. Four members of the Israeli army detained about twenty Beit Ommar farmers for half an hour, claiming the area was a closed military zone. They showed no paperwork, and finally the farmers moved past them to complete their work. The farmers gathered leaves until their containers were full, and then moved to leave.

The soldiers allowed the women of the group to continue home, but detained the men. Eight men had their identification cards taken, and were made to sit and wait for another group of soldiers to arrive. The new group of soldiers immediately arrested an international activist accompanying the farmers, and took the information of all others gathered there. They were held for another half hour before being released, with no further arrests. Only when were they were allowed to go were they shown the papers declaring the area a closed military zone. The international was released several hours later.