The Israeli military and police detained three peace activists in the village of al-Walaja Wednesday morning who were trying to stop Israeli bulldozers from uprooting treesIsraeli forces arrested two Israeli activists, and Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh, a Palestinian peace activist.

Dr. Qumsiyeh told IMEMC, in a phone interview, that Israeli Army bulldozers were flattening agricultural land and uprooting trees when the activists arrived and tried to stop them.

One activist chained himself to a bulldozer but was eventually arrested, Dr. Qumsiyeh said, noting that the protest was peaceful and none of the activists resisted arrest.

Dr. Qumsiyeh chairs the board of the Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement between People, an organization that co-founded the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).

Israeli troops began the operation by cordoning the village. The Army then sent in a military bulldozer, with a large security detail, to begin uprooting trees in orchards.

The Army also dispatched troops to several neighborhoods within al-Walaja to prevent the villagers from trying to protect their land.

The flattened farmland belongs to Ahmad Barghouth. His land was in the Ein Jweiza area, north of Al Walaja.

The land-clearing operation was intended to facilitate expansion of a nearby illegal Israeli settlement.