A “friendly” farmer’s farm in a rural part of the West Bank has been attracting the attention of international authorities for years.
But the farm’s owners are now preparing to sell it.
In the early morning hours of March 1, the Israeli authorities arrested a man and his wife who were involved in the operation, and charged them with theft.
The arrests follow an operation by the Israeli military in which a bulldozer hit a barn belonging to a neighbor’s family in the village of Gafit in the occupied West Bank, killing at least six people and injuring dozens.
A second bulldozer was also involved in a similar attack.
The operation followed an arson attack in August 2017 against a nearby barn belonging, and damaged, a neighbor family’s property in the Golan Heights.
The Israeli authorities have repeatedly claimed that the barn was a “friendly farm” operated by the Palestinian group Hamas.
The barn’s owner, Azzam al-Zahrani, is the father of the three members of the family who were killed in the attack.
In a statement on Facebook, the owners said they were “working to bring about a change in the way we are living our lives.”
The owners were seeking legal protection for their property.
But, according to the attorney general’s office, this is “inadmissible in Israel,” and the owners “shall not be allowed to live or work in this country.”
The farm has attracted international attention because of the number of Palestinians involved in it.
The Israeli government has previously accused Hamas of running a large farm in the Westbank.
The farm is one of a number of properties in the settlement of Qalqilya in the Ramallah area of the occupied Palestinian territory that have attracted international media attention in recent months.
The Israel Civil Administration has said that the farms involved in such investigations are in violation of Israeli law, which does not recognize their ownership.
But Palestinian activists have welcomed the arrests.
“We hope that the case will serve as a deterrent to the farmers who want to continue their illegal activities,” Nasser al-Bashir, the head of the Qalqa Youth Network, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
“We are waiting for the Israeli courts to order the owners of the properties to stop their activities, and we are waiting to see the results of the investigations.”
Palestinian officials have said they intend to sue the Israeli government for the deaths of their relatives, and for damages for property damage.