American professor held by Israel in West Bank

JERUSALEM – An American law professor was detained by Israeli police for allegedly trying to block Israeli troops in a West Bank village 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. 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 embattled 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 demolition, witnesses said.

Israeli police said three people were detained for causing disturbances.

Romano was initially taken to a West Bank 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 had started a hunger strike and would refrain from eating until Israel had halted plans to raze Khan al-Ahmar, a hamlet of 180 Palestinians.

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 U.S. and France.

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