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Israeli forces arrest three solidarity activists in Safa

For Immediate Release

13 June 2009: Israeli forces have arrested 1 Israeli and 2 international solidarity activists in the West Bank village of Safa.

Around 7am, Palestinian farmers, accompanied by 15 international and 10 Israeli solidarity activists, attempted to access their land in the village of Safa to pick grape leaves. Located in the north Hebron hills, near the illegal Beit Ayn settlement, Safa is Palestinian owned land.

Settlers arrived at the scene and began to throw stones at the Palestinians. Border police were present and witnessed the stone-throwing but did not intervene. After 15 minutes at the site in Safa, the border police declared the area a Closed Military Zone. When the Palestinian, Israeli and international activists began to walk away, the settlers verbally assualted them. Two border police cars arrived and attempted to arrest an Israeli activist. Having failed to arrest the Israeli solidarity activist, the border police tried to arrest a Palestinian farmer.

Four international and two Israeli activists tried to prevent the arrest by surrounding the farmer and linking arms on the ground. The border police began to violently push and kick the activists. The soldiers pulled the hair of several activists, kicked them and yelled at them. Israeli forces also used a club to beat the activists.

Shortly thereafter, the border police arrested a German activist, a Scottish activist and an Israeli activist. The Palestinian farmer was released.

They were taken to the police station in Gush Etzion settlement and then transferred to the police station in Kyriat Arba settlement. They are still being held and accused of assaulting the soldiers.

click here to see a video of the action