Two Icelanders Arrested By Israeli Forces While Helping With Olive Harvest, Later Released - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Two Icelanders Arrested By Israeli Forces While Helping With Olive Harvest, Later Released

Published October 23, 2019

Andie Fontaine
Main photo by
Zeynel Cebeci/Wikimedia Commons

Two Icelandic women, former Reykjavík City Councilperson Björk Vilhelmsdóttir and Tinna Eyberg, were taken into custody by Israeli forces while picking olives in Palestine for the International Women’s Peace Service. They were released less than two hours later.

Sveinn Rúnar Hauksson, Björk’s husband, first announced the incident on Facebook. In a conversation with Stundin, Sveinn says that Israeli forces—military and border police alike—have had a significant presence in the area of the unnamed Palestinian village.

Björk had called Sveinn herself shortly after they were taken into custody, explaining the situation.

“I haven’t heard from her since,” Sveinn said at the time. “I also haven’t tried to get in touch and disturb the situation. She’s had to speak to many others if she has the opportunity, such as the citizen’s service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the local Icelandic consul.”

Björk and Tinna were participating in the olive harvest as a part of an effort known as “protective presence”; to be present with Palestinian people in their daily activities where the interference of Israeli forces is likely to happen. Since their arrival, they have reportedly witnessed Israeli forces in neighbouring Yitzhar inflict violence against olive harvesters and set their crops on fire.

While it is unknown if or with what Björk and Tinna were charged, Sveinn announced their release some 90 minutes later.

“I’m not particularly worried that violence will be used against her, but she could possibly be threatened [by Israeli forces],” Sveinn told reporters. “But she’s a strong women and can take it.”

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