A popular Puerto Rican activist is under Israeli house arrest after he climbed a tower near Izraeli West Bank separation barrier and hoisted a Palestinian flag on it.
Fellow activists said Alberto de Jesus, 48, spent two days in an Israeli police lockup in the West Bank, followed by two days under house arrest, and was to be released later Tuesday,
De Jesus was initially arrested after climbing a six-story surveillance tower alongside the separation barrier, near the West Bank town of Bilin. De Jesus stayed stayed on the tower for five hours and flew a large Palestinian flag, as part of a weekly protest by peace activists against the barrier.
De Jesus, also known as Tito Kayak, is famous for leading protests against U.S. Navy exercises on Puerto Rico's Vieques Island.
De Jesus said he felt good he'd revived media attention about the Israeli barrier, built mostly in the West Bank. "Maybe because of the media other people will know what's happening here in Palestine. Palestinians have the right to live like humans," he said in a telephone interview from his house arrest in Tel Aviv.
Israeli activist Kobi Snitz, who agreed to supervise De Jesus' house arrest, said his guest was in good spirits, despite two days in a police lockup.
Police were unavailable to comment on Tuesday, Israel's independence day, but earlier said De Jesus would most likely be deported.
Israel says the barrier is necessary to keep Palestinian militants out of Israel. Palestinians say it is an Israeli grab for land they want for a future state.
The Bilin protests have become a symbol of Palestinian anger against the separation barrier, which has swallowed farmlands along the route. The protests, now in their third year, routinely turn violent and Noble Peace laureate Mairead Corrigan was injured Friday when a rubber bullet fired by police hit her in the leg.
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