13 Israeli, international and Palestinian activists were kidnapped on Thursday morning while accompanying farmers to their lands in the Saffa region of Beit Ommar, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron.A group of nearly 30 activists accompanied Sheik Mohammad Aady to his land near the Bat Ayn settlement, which is marked for annexation by the Israeli military. After working on the land for half an hour, soldiers emerged from the Bat Ayn settlement and the surrounding hills, and detained the group.
Troops fired sound bombs before attacking and arresting the activists. Amongst those kidnapped by the army was Biet Ommar National Committee member and cameraman Mohammed Ayyad.
Upon leaving the village, soldiers fired from their military vehicles more than 25 canisters of tear gas at a group of children who hurled rocks at them. The tear gas spread throughout the residential area.
In the past two weeks there have been 33 detentions of farmers and activists in Saffa. The military claims that the land is “state land,” indicating their unequivocal intention to annex it to the Bat Ayn settlement. All of the farmers have documents proving their ownership of the land.
Settlers frequently attack the farmers and land in Saffa. Two nights ago settlers set fire to 70 olive trees on the hillside near Bat Ayn, and three Palestinians were arrested as they tried to extinguish the fire. Three more Palestinian activists who went to take pictures the next day were also detained.