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American law professor detained by Israel for protesting West Bank village demolition

Frank Romano allegedly stood in front of heavy demolition equipment [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 September, 2018

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Frank Romano, 66, was detained by Israeli forces with two other Palestinian activists for standing in front of heavy equipment to block the destruction of the West Bank village.

An American law professor was detained by Israeli police along with two Palestinian activists for allegedly trying to block Israeli troops in a West Bank village slated for demolition, his Israeli lawyer said on Saturday.

Frank Romano, 66, is being held at a lockup in Jerusalem and is to appear before an Israeli military court on Monday, said attorney Gaby Lasky. She said she is trying to get a hearing sooner, before a civil court.

Romano, who reportedly also has French citizenship, was detained on Friday in the embattled village of Khan al-Ahmar, along with two other activists. Romano stood in front of heavy equipment being used to clear barriers that had been set up to slow demolition, witnesses said.

Israeli police said three people were detained for causing disturbances.

Romano was initially taken to a West Bank police station where he briefly met with activists from an Israeli-Palestinian group, Combatants for Peace.

Nahoum Oltchik, a member of the group, said Romano told him he had started a hunger strike and would refrain from eating until Israel had halted plans to raze Khan al-Ahmar, a Bedouin village home to 180 Palestinians.

Romano is reportedly on hunger strike until the demolition of
Khan al-Ahmar is stopped [AP]

Romano's LinkedIn page says that he teaches law, literature, history and philosophy at the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense in France, and that he practices law in the US and France.

Amnesty International has deplored Israel's destruction of the village, saying the illegitimate move constitutes a “war crime”.

The rights accused Israel of “shamefully” carrying out an “unlawful” attack on the Bedouin village, which will leave more than 170 Bedouin Palestinians, including 92 children, displaced.

Under Israeli plans, the residents will be relocated next to a nearby landfill before being moved next to a sewage plant.

“With this shameful and manifestly unlawful ruling the Supreme Court has confirmed a pattern of complicity in the crime of forcible transfer of Palestinian communities for the expansion of Jewish only settlements”, Saleh Higazi, Head of Office in Jerusalem for Amnesty International said.

“The court has not only completely denied the petitioners the protection provided to them by International Humanitarian Law, it has also validated the discriminatory policies of the Israeli authorities.”

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