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French-US law professor under military arrest for Khan al-Ahmar activism

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Security forces clashed with activists as Israel prepares for demolition.

In an unusual move, Israel is holding French-American law professor Frank Romano under military arrest for interfering with the activities of the security forces in the West Bank Bedouin herding village of Khan al-Ahmar on Friday.According to his attorney Gaby Lasky, the 68-year-old activist is being held in the Russian compound. He could only have been held for a day under Israeli law, said Lasky, but under military law he can be detained for 96 hours.It is unusual for military law to be applied in a case like this, she explained.

Lasky said she plans to appeal the Shalom Court for the application of Israeli law instead of military law in this case.

According to his Facebook page, Romano is affiliated with the University of Paris, also known as the Sorbonne. Many of his posts relate to Khan al-Ahmar, which is under threat of imminent demolition after the High Court of Justice ruled that there is no legal impediment to its removal.

The village, which was illegally built without permits, is located just off of Route 1, near the Kfar Adumim settlement. The Civil Administration wants to relocate the families to a new neighborhood of the town of Abu Dis, called Jahalin West, in Area C, just outside of Jerusalem.

The families want to remain in their current location.On Friday, security forces arrived at the village to work on an access road to the encampment of tents and shacks. Clashes broke out between activists and the security forces. Romano was arrested during those clashes.

Police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said that two other people were arrested at the scene as well.

“The three arrests occurred when infrastructure work was taking place at the scene,” he said, adding that such work as well as security measures will continue.

On Thursday, the European parliament called on Israel not to demolish the village, stating that such a move “would constitute a grave breach of international humanitarian law.” The language implied that it viewed such an action as a war crime.US Democratic politicians have also been vocal on the issue. US Senator Dianne Feinstein tweeted on Thursday, “The only reason to destroy this community is to expand nearby Israeli settlements and split the West Bank in half. The potential for peace depends on what happens to Khan al-Ahmar.”

Right-wing Israeli politicians, in turn, hold that Khan al-Ahmar is situated at its current location as part of a Palestinian Authority plan to seize hold of strategic points in Area C.
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