US professor detained for blocking Israeli police during demolition of illegal Bedouin village

Romano was arrested for causing disturbances and scuffling with police on duty in Khan al-Ahmar.  

By: AP and World Israel News Staff

An American law professor was detained by Israeli police for trying to block Israeli troops in an illegal Bedouin hamlet slated for demolition, his Israeli lawyer said Saturday.

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

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

Israeli police said three people were detained for causing disturbances.

Romano was initially taken to a 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 began a hunger strike and would refrain from eating until Israel had halts plans to raze Khan al-Ahmar, a hamlet of 180 Bedouin deemed illegal by Israel’s High Court of Justice.

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.

The Jahalin Bedouin living at Khan al-Ahmar is an offshoot of a larger tribe from southern Israel, in the Arad region. After a blood feud erupted within the tribe in the 1970s, some of the families were forced out and migrated north through the Judean desert, arriving and settling in their present location after the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

The location of the illegal structures is hazardous due to its proximity to a major highway. Khan al Ahmar is adjacent to and overlooks the road that connects Jerusalem to the south of Israel in a strategic area that bisects the country.

Their battle for the land is part of a Palestinian Authority and European Unio-orchestrated program of building strategically located outposts that undermine the basis of the Oslo Accords and create facts on the ground.