A scooters farm in a Tel Aviv suburb has been sold to a private Israeli company, but its owners have refused to sell the equipment, saying they were being used illegally in the illegal Israeli occupation.
The scooters, manufactured by Israeli-based maker Mabot, have become the latest in a long line of Israeli companies to find themselves under fire over their use of Palestinian-owned machinery.
Last week, Israeli police said they had detained three Palestinians who they accused of illegally using the scooters in illegal settlements.
They also said a fourth man, who was arrested earlier this week, had fled to Jordan.
But the owners of the scooter farms have so far refused to give up the equipment or pay a ransom to free it.
Israel is currently occupying the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
In recent months, the Israeli army has been accused of abuses in the occupied West Bank, including demolishing homes and bulldozing Palestinian-run businesses and crops in a bid to create new settlements.
Israel, a Jewish state, has also occupied the Westbank and the Gaza Strip, with the Palestinians living in them.
Mabot has been building scooters for years, but the company has only recently started selling them to Israelis in the city of Tel Aviv, where the farmers own their farms.
The farms are made up of a range of small machines including scooters made of plastic, electric scooters and bicycles.
In the company’s advertising materials, it said that its machines are used by Israeli citizens and have a range up to 100 kilometers (60 miles) on electric scooter.
“The farmers are the ones who are in control of the equipment,” the company said in a statement to the press.
“This is a case of stealing our equipment, and this is what we want to prove to the Israeli government.”
“We know that we are being used, and the only way we can free ourselves is to make a formal complaint,” Mabots founder Eitan Minsky told Haaretz newspaper.
“We have to show that they are using our equipment for illegal purposes and to make them pay us a ransom for the equipment.”
The farmers’ decision to sell their equipment has sparked outrage among some of the Palestinians who own the farms.
A Facebook page for the farmers called the scootery a “crime against humanity” and accused them of profiting from the land they have inherited.
“The [Israeli] government is using the occupation as a pretext to evict us from our land and steal our land,” the page said.
“Mabots equipment is stolen from the Palestinians and they are stealing it.”
In response, Maboti’s head of public relations, Yigal Alsheich, told the Israeli news website Ynet that the scrotch farms were being “used for the production of goods that are forbidden to the Palestinian people,” adding that the farmers had not received a ransom payment.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to release the scotch farmers, but Israeli media has reported that the Palestinians are reluctant to do so.
In a statement posted to Facebook on Thursday, the PA’s foreign affairs minister Nabil Abu Rudeineh called for a peaceful solution to the conflict, and said that Israel must respect the “rights of the Palestinian land and its people, including the right to the land and the right of return.”
“We do not accept any interference by the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian lands, in the right for the return of the land, and in the rights of the citizens of the occupied territories,” he said.
The Israeli government’s move to seize the scopes was not the first time it has seized Palestinian land.
In October 2014, Israel seized Palestinian-controlled lands near the city and villages of Duma and Kafr Nabi, which were part of the Green Line.
According to the UN, Israeli forces have occupied more than 6,000 square kilometers (3,000 sq miles) of Palestinian land since 1967.