12 April 2009, 1pm:
A German national, Christian Becke, and an Italian national, Sara Pagani, continue to be held by Israeli police at the Russian Compound police station in Jerusalem. Becke and Pagani were arrested on the 11th of April while nonviolently accompanying
Palestinian farmers on their lands in the village of At-Tuwani, south of the city of Hebron.
Both Becke and Pagani appeared in a Jerusalem court today where they were ordered to appear for deportation hearings at a later date. An Israeli judge has ordered Pagani to deposit a 5,000 shekel surety bond in order for her to be released before the upcoming hearing. Becke was ordered to deposit a 10,000 shekel surety bond.
The Italian and German embassies have repeatedly been prevented from speaking to their citizens by police at Kiryat Arba over the past 24 hours.
Palestinian farmers in At-Tuwani rely on the presence of International and Israeli human rights workers to mitigate violence from settlers. As soldiers in the area frequently ignore settler violence and rarely interfere to protect the farmers, international volunteers provide support for the Palestinians. The grazing action began around 8.30 am, and the German and Italian nationals were arrested at 11am.
At-Tuwani is a village of 300 Palestinians located in South Hebron Hills. Residents make their living through farming, primarily wheat, barley, olives and grazing sheep. At-Tuwani is also one of several villages under daily threat from extremist settlers living in the area. Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills are daily nonviolently resisting settlement expansion and violence at the hands of settlers
Internationals accompany Palestinians as they perform agricultural work on their land and in other nonviolent demonstrations: Internationals accompany Palestinians as they work their land, use video to document settlers, soldiers, and police, and intervene as Palestinians request.
Video available upon request, please email email@example.com
For more information:
Silvia Pogda (Italian) 059 703 6903
Christian Peacemaker Team (English) 054 253 1323
Thomas Patterson (English), ISM Media Office 059 850 3948