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Brighton-Tubas Fellowship: Three British nationals go to trial after non-violent demonstration


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***Update, after being sent to the Ministry of the Interior to begin the process of deportation, the three women were released.

Three British women, Kate Harrison, Caroline Bailey and Sarah Cobham representing the Brighton-Tubas Friendship and Solidarity group, were arrested during a non-violent protest at Al Mazra’a al Qibilya in the West Bank on Friday 26th October and will appear at 7pm this evening in the Jerusalem Peace Court, located in the Russian Compound in Jerusalem.

The women, aged 45, 60 and 62, who are facing deportation, are being charged this evening with “participating in an illegal demonstration“, “damaging a barbed wire fence” belonging to settlers erected on Palestinian land and uprooting settler owned grape vines planted illegally on Palestinian land.

The women, two of whom are members of Amnesty International, did not actively participate in the demonstration but intended to act as observers. They were arrested as the protesters retreated under live fire.

Members of a ten person delegation to Palestine organised by the Brighton-Tubas Friendship and Solidarity Group joined a demonstration in Al Mazra’a al Qibliya in the occupied West Bank today. Al Mazra’a is surrounded by seven illegal Israel settlements known collectively as Talmund B.

The settlements have been steadily expanding. In the last few years they have expropriated 14,000 dunums of Palestinian land (4 dunums= 1 acre) and uprooted Palestinian olive trees.

The settlement also monopolises water resources in the area. Settlements like Talmund B are illegal under international law. However, the Israeli state encourages the growth of settlements by subsidising colonisers who move to the occupied territories.

Three months ago a further 500 dunums were confiscated from the village and were planted with grape vines.

The Brighton group joined the villagers in marching to the confiscated land. They reached the area where a barbed wire fence marked the boundary of the stolen land. Approximately 50 people crossed the fence and started to remove the grape vines from the land. Also the pipes that take the stolen water were partially destroyed.

As the demonstrators entered the land settlers fired live ammunition at them. Soldiers also fired live ammunition. No warning was given. The group included old people and many young children.

The villagers told the remaining members of the Brighton group that it was because of their presence that no-one was killed.