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Palestinian activist twins released hours after Israeli police arrest them

TWO prominent activists fighting the forced removal of Palestinian families from their homes in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrar were released from Israeli police custody on Sunday, hours after their arrests.

Twins Muna and Muhammad al-Kurd, 23, have played a central role in bringing worldwide media attention to the protests against armed Jewish settlers’ attempts to expel dozens of Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrar.

The settlers are using a law drafted in 1970 that allows Jews to seize properties lost during the 1948 war that led to the creation of Israel, a right not extended to Palestinians who also lost their homes and possessions in the same war.

At least 150 Palestinian families are at risk, and part of the twins’ home has already been occupied by a settler originally from New York.

Israeli police came for Muna while she was at home, while her brother Muhammad went to a police station after receiving a summons. The police said the pair were arrested for “committing acts that disturb public security” and “taking part in riots.”

After protesters gathered outside the station where Muna was being held, demanding her release, 10 were injured, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said, when Israeli police officers fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at them.

On her release, Muna told reporters: “No matter what they do to terrorise and frighten us, no number of arrests will scare us off.

“We will remain in our homes and we will continue to defend our land that we were born and raised on.”

Muhammad told Al Jazeera after his release that the Israeli occupation forces had arrested him and his sister “in an intimidation move to stop us from speaking out against the injustices that they commit, that the settlers commit.”

The pair’s arrest came a day after Israeli police assaulted and forcibly detained Al Jazeera correspondent Givara Budeiri while she was covering a protest in Sheikh Jarrar.

Meanwhile, Israeli police announced today that it had banned Jewish ultra-nationalists from staging a march through East Jerusalem planned for Thursday.

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