Two Christian peace campaigners were due in court yesterday after being arrested by Israeli police when they walked near an illegal Israeli settlement on Sunday.
The police also detained 19 Palestinians who were trying to access their land near the village of Um al-Kheir. They arrested two Christian Peacemaker Teams members (CPTers) and charged them with obstruction and trespass, in spite of the fact that they had been 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 12pm, Israeli police detained the Palestinians for 45 minutes at the scene.
The arrested CPTers were taken to Kiryat Arba Police Station outside Hebron, where they charged them with trespassing and obstructing the construction work. The CPTers were at least ten metres away from the construction vehicles and were accompanying the Palestinianlandowners on their land.
Neither the army nor police asked the Palestinians for papers to ascertain the true ownership of the land. A hearing was scheduled to take place yesterday. The outcome has not yet been announced.
Um al-Kheir villagers report that work they observed is expanding Karmel settlement and threatening their land and livelihood.