Christian peacemakers arrested after accompanying Palestinian landowners

By staff writers
March 9, 2009

A Jerusalem court has released two Christian peacemakers Teams who were arrested by Israeli police while accompanying nineteen Palestinians who were trying to access their land.

The members of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) were released earlier today (Monday) after their near the Bedouin village of Um al-Kheir.

They were charged with trespass and obstruction of construction work.

The peacemakers say they were at least ten metres away from the work zone and the Palestinian landowners had invited them onto their lands.

Israeli police arrested the CPT members on Sunday morning, when Palestinian landowners from Um al-Kheir asserted their right to visit their land.

The villagers had observed workers using road-building equipment on Palestinian-owned land near the adjacent Israeli settlement of Karmel.

When the Palestinians and peacemakers 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. Israeli police then detained the Palestinians at the scene for forty-five minutes.

They arrested the Christian peacemakers 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 say that the work they observed is expanding Karmel settlement and stealing their land and livelihood.

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.