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Israel to deport French-US professor arrested at Khan al-Ahmar protest

Romano was arrested with Palestinian protesters when they tried to block Israeli bulldozers sealing off access road to village
Israeli officer shouts as Palestinians protest against blocking of road leading to Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar in the occupied West Bank on 14 September (AFP)

A Franco-American law professor arrested by Israel while protesting against the demolition of a Palestinian village in the West Bank will be deported, his lawyer said on Sunday.

US-born Frank Romano, who teaches law at the Paris Nanterre University, was detained on Friday while taking part in a demonstration at the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem. A former lawyer, Romano is the author of Love and Terror in the Middle East.

"There is an administrative decision to deport him," lawyer Gaby Lasky told reporters. A spokeswoman for the Israeli interior ministry could not immediately confirm such a decision.

The village of about 200 people in the Israeli-occupied West Bank is at risk of being demolished at any time, in spite of fierce criticism from key European nations, according to AFP.

On 5 September, Israel's Supreme Court upheld an order to raze it on grounds it was built without the proper permits.

It is extremely rare for Palestinians to be given Israeli permits to build in Area C of the West Bank, where Khan al-Ahmar is situated.

The village is located in a strategic spot near Israeli settlements and along a road leading to the Dead Sea.

Khan al-Ahmar: Scores of arrests and injuries in protest against demolition
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There have been warnings that continued settlement construction in the area could eventually divide the West Bank in two and cut it off from Jerusalem, dealing a death blow to any remaining hopes of a two-state solution.

Last week, Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), said a case has been filed with the International Criminal Court (ICC) regarding the planned demolition, urging the ICC's chief prosecutor to meet with its residents ahead of the court-sanctioned eviction.

"We hope that an official judicial investigation can be opened as soon as possible," Erekat said.

The residents of Khan al-Ahmar are from the Jahalin tribe, a Bedouin family expelled from the Naqab desert - also referred to as the Negev - when the state of Israel was established in 1948. Over 700,000 Palestinians were forced to flee or were expelled from their homes in what Palestinians call the Nakba (catastrophe). The Jahalin then settled on the eastern slopes of Jerusalem.

Anti-demolition activists said Romano was arrested along with two Palestinian protesters when they tried to block bulldozers sent in by Israeli authorities to seal off an access road to the village.

Pictures on social media show him being led from the scene by Israeli police.