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Night Raids and Arrests of West Bank Popular Leaders Continue

Popular Struggle Co-ordination Committee

15 January 2010

In the early hours of the morning, dozens of soldiers invaded the village of alMaasara – a site of weekly peaceful demonstrations for over three years – and surrounded the houses of Popular Committee members Mohammed Barjiya and Mahmoud Zwahre.

Both Barjiya and Zwahre were warned about that repercussions will follow if they do not stop organizing protests in the village. Zwahre was even threatened that a child may end up dead.

The night before, a large contingent of soldiers invaded the village of Beit Duqqu North West of Jerusalem and arrested Sa’id Yaqim, a member of the Palestinian National Committee Against the Wall.

Yaqim’s arrest is a direct continuation of a recent Israeli wave of arrests aimed to suppress the Palestinian unarmed struggle. Thursday’s arrest follows the detention of three members of the Popular Committee in the village of Ni’iln and a long-standing arrest campaign in the village of Bil’in.

In the past month, since 16 December, the army has staged twelve night incursions into Ni’ilin. Since May 2008, when demonstrations began in the village, 97 residents have been arrested in connection to the protests. Similar raids have been conducted in the village of Bil’in – where 34 residents have been arrested in the past six month and the cities of Nablus, Ramallah and East Jerusalem.

Among those arrested in the recent campaign are also five members of the Bil’in Popular Committee, all suspected of incitement, and include Adeeb Abu Rahmah – who has already been held in detention for almost six months and Abdallah Abu Rahmah – the Bil’in Popular Committee coordinator.

The charge of incitement, defined in military law as “an attempt, whether verbally or otherwise, to influence public opinion in the Area in a way that may disturb the public peace or public order”, is a cynic attempt to indict grassroots organizers with a hefty charge, and is part of the army’s strategy to use legal measures as a means of quashing the popular movement.uar