Jewish resident of Samaria arrested - for harvesting olives

Court orders suspect who harvested olives released to house arrest after police claim grove belongs to Arab.

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Orly Harari,

Harvesting olives
Harvesting olives
Flash 90

Jerusalem's Magistrates Court on Friday afternoon rejected Israel Police's request to extend the arrest of a Shiloh resident by four days, ordering the suspect released to house arrest until Sunday.

The Jewish resident was arrested in his Samaria home early on Friday morning when the police conducted a raid on his town.

The suspect is married and does not have a criminal record.

He was interrogated on suspicion of harvesting olives from the grove near his town. According to police, the orchard belongs to an Arab.

In a discussion, the police representative said officers had managed to locate an Arab who claimed the grove was his, but the Arab had not yet been called to testify on the subject. Police also claimed that soldiers saw the suspect's vehicle parked near the grove.

Meanwhile, the suspect's attorney said the grove's ownership unclear and disputed, and that there is no proof the grove belongs to an Arab. He also said that the suspect denies the allegations and did not commit any crime.

The discussion ended when the Jerusalem Magistrate Court Vice President Dorit Feinstein rejected the police's request, and ordered the suspect released to house arrest. Feinstein also expressed astonishment at the police claim that the suspect "caused damage to an item of cultural importance."

"Early on Friday morning, the police raided my client's town and arrested a married man with no criminal record," the suspect's attorney said. "The court accepted his claim that there is no crime justifying arrest, and that the section about damaging cultural property is not appropriate."

"It seems that this is a 'price tag' hunt perpetrated by Israel Police, who use unreasonable force against the Jewish settlers of Judea and Samaria, while citing irrelevant laws. We hope Israel Police will concentrate on more important 'crimes' and enforce the law in Judea and Samaria."