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Watch: American detained for 'interfering' with military

Feb. 3, 2010 11:33 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 6, 2010 2:53 P.M.)
Ramallah – Ma'an – A 27-year-old American woman was detained along with two Palestinians by Israeli forces during a night raid in the village of Bil'in on Wednesday.

All three were taken to the border police station, an organizer said. An Israeli military spokesman confirmed the detentions.

Forces broke into the home of Abed Al-Fattah Burnat, 27, then surrounded the home of Ashraf Abu Rahma. International and Palestinian activists were alerted of the raid and went to the location to film the event.

Witnesses said the home was declared a closed military zone by army officials, who demanded reporters and activists stay 50 meters away from the door. Organizers said the group moved 50 meters back, but soldiers continued to harass photojournalist and B'Tselem volunteer Hamdi Abu Rahameh, 22.

The Israeli military said Rahameh is a Palestinian citizen of Israel, and said he was detained for failing to move back from the home after soldiers declared it a closed area.

As soldiers detained the young man, an American activist known locally as "Stormy" attempted to intervene.

The military said the American woman "interfered" in the work of the Israeli army and attempted to "prevent Israeli soldiers from carrying out their duty." They also said the actions of the woman caused rioting in the area. They confirmed her arrest and transfer to the Israeli police.

US Consulate officials said they were looking into the incident.

Another Palestinian resident of Bil'in, Ashraf Abu Ramhe, was later detained near the village mosque. Upon his detention, Israeli soldiers handcuffed and blindfolded him, ushering him into a car with a gun pointed at his head, Popular Committee organizers said.

The army also confirmed the arrest of Ramhe.

International peace activists have been staying overnight in the village of Bil'in since the Israeli army began night raids into the village, initially following each Friday's demonstration against the separation wall being constructed on village lands.

Journalists filmed the following during the raid:

Night raids became more regular during the fall of 2009, and now occur almost nightly, villagers say. Activists and photojournalists work to document the raids and treatment of Palestinians at the hands of Israeli forces.

In January, a Czech woman working on solidarity projects with Palestinians via the International Solidarity Movement was detained from her home in Ramallah during a night raid and deported the following day.

Night raid in Nablus

In addition to the raids of Bil'in and Ni'lin, sources reported Israeli forces operating in Nablus, where they detained one man, identified as 22-year-old Shurahbil Awwad.

The young man was taken from his home in the Al-Makhfiyeh area in the west of Nablus before sunrise.
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