Well, when I arrived in At-Tuwani, it started right a way. I set down my bag and started to admire the improvements that my teammates made to our house while I was away and then the phone rang. While the 19 Palestinians standing with them were detained for 45 minutes, two teammates of mine were arrested as they video tapped a bulldozer expanding an illegal settlement. Funny, getting arrested for recording someone else breaking the law. Thankfully, they were released the next day. Here's the story:
8 March 2009
AT-TUWANI: Israeli police detain Palestinian landowners asserting their rights, arrest two members of Christian Peacemaker Team members
At 11:30 a.m., 8 March, Israeli police detained nineteen Palestinians who were trying to access their land near the village of Um al-Kheir. The police also arrested two Christian Peacemaker Teams members (CPTers) and charged them with obstruction and trespass, even though the owners had invited them to their land.
Palestinians from the village observed workers using road building equipment on Palestinian-owned land near the Israeli settlement of Karmel which is adjacent to Um al-Kheir. When the Palestinians and CPTers approached the work area, an Israeli settlement security guard began demanding they leave. When they remained on the land, he contacted the Israeli army and police. At 12:00 p.m., Israeli police detained the Palestinians for forty-five minutes at the scene. They arrested the CPTers and transported them to Kiryat Arba Police Station outside Hebron, where they charged them with trespassing and obstructing the building work. The CPTers were at least ten meters away from the construction vehicles and were simply standing with the Palestinian landowners.
Neither the army nor police asked the Palestinians for papers to ascertain the true ownership of the land.
Here's the follow up:
9 March 2009
AT-TUWANI RELEASE: Israeli court releases CPTers arrested for accompanying Palestinian landowners
At 2:30 pm, on Monday, 9 March, a Jerusalem court released two Christian Peacemaker Teams members (CPTers) whom Israeli police arrested while the CPTers accompanied nineteen Palestinians trying to access their land near the Bedouin village of Um al-Kheir. The CPTers were charged with trespass and obstruction of construction work, despite the fact that they were at least ten meters away from the work zone and the Palestinian landowners had invited them to their lands.
Israeli police arrested the CPTers on Sunday, 8 March, at 11:30 a.m., when Palestinian landowners from Um al-Kheir asserted their right to visit their land. The villagers observed workers using road-building equipment on Palestinian-owned land near the adjacent Israeli settlement of Karmel. When the Palestinians and CPTers approached the work area, an Israeli settlement security guard began to shout, demanding that they leave. When they remained on their land, the guard contacted the Israeli army and police. At 12:00 p.m., Israeli police detained the Palestinians at the scene for forty-five minutes. They arrested the CPTers and transported them to Kiryat Arba Police Station outside Hebron. Neither the army nor police asked the Palestinians for papers to ascertain the true ownership of the land. Um al-Kheir villagers report that the work they observed is expanding Karmel settlement and stealing their land and livelihood.