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ACTION ALERT: Palestinian Gandhi Re-arrested

The Palestinian Gandhi, Abdullah Abu Rahme, and Akram Al Khatib, two members of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Bil’in, were arrested Friday, July 15, 2005 and are still being held at Ofer Military Base. The two were arrested during a non-violent demonstration against the Annexation Barrier in Bil’in and are being charged with assaulting a police officer.

Attorney Tamar Peleg, has filed a request with the court and the prosecutors for the immediate release of Abdullah and Akram. Peleg states that their arrest is the result of Israeli military efforts to stop legitimate, legal, non-violent political activities.

Members of the Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements and their families have regularly been subjected to nightly threats, harassment, arrest, and false charges in the past.

The central theme of Friday’s demonstration was that peace requires bridges, not walls, and that instead of building the Annexation Wall a better future and a bridge of peace and understanding should be constructed.

Abdullah, along with Israeli and International activists, was inside the installation with only his head sticking out. The activists inside the installation lead the march which left the center of the village toward the construction site of the Barrier. Border police and IDF soldiers were waiting for the demonstration inside the village and prevented access to the route of the Barrier which appropriates more than half of the village’s lands for the construction of new Israeli settlements.

After a few moments of debate, soldiers attacked the demonstrators with clubs, shock grenades and tear gas. Abdullah was forced out of the installation, arrested and then charged with assault. Akram who was standing nearby was suddenly grabbed by a soldier and arrested and charged with resisting arrest. Throughout the arrest which is documented by video and still photos Akram can be seen holding his hands in the air. 14 Israelis and four international activists were also arrested in the same demonstration, under the same circumstances. All but two of them were released after a few hours. The other two were released at 22:00 that night. (Video footage that proves the above is available and has been submitted to the police).

The village of Bil’in is well known for its determination and creativity in resisting the Wall. One month ago, Abdullah and his brother Rateb were arrested in identical circumstances and charged with throwing stones. Luckily, video footage which proved the charges to be false was available. In a rare move, the military judge Captain Daniel Zamir, after viewing video footage of the Bil’in demonstration that conflicted with the IDF soldier reports of the events, stated: “There was no reason for the defendant’s arrest; there was no reason for the shooting that wounded him or the blows he received from the soldier,” adding that the reality was “strangely different, to put it mildly, from the testimony of the prosecution witnesses.” Subsequently, one of the soldiers who testified against Rateb has been investigated by military police and confessed to giving false testimony.

Links to photographs from the demonstration:

Abdullah in the bridge installation, 4th from the left:

Image of the confrontation with the IDF:

Image of Akram’s arrest:

Image of Abdullah’s arrest:

Please call and fax the people bellow demanding Abdullah’s and Akram’s release:
From abroad, include also the Israeli embassy in your country.
for embassy email addresses:
www.embassyworld.com/embassy/israel1.html + more on:

American Consulate, Jerusalem Email: keenme@state.gov, Fax: +972-(0)2- 627-7230
European Union, Jerusalem, Email mailto@delwbg.cec.eu.int, Fax: +972- (0)2-532 6249

White House Comment Line: 202-456-1111
State Department Bureau of Public Affairs Comment Line: 202-647-6575

Tzipi Livni
Ministry of Justice
29 Salah al-Din Street
Jerusalem 91010, Israel
Fax: +972 2 628 7757
E-mail: sar@justice.gov.il

Menahem Mazuz
Advisor to the Government
Ministry of Justice
29 Salah al-Din Street
Jerusalem 91010, Israel
Fax: +972 2 628 5438
+972 2 627 4481

Brigadier General Avihai Mandelblit
Chief Military Attorney
6 David Elazar Street
Tel Aviv
Fax: +972 3 569 4370
E-mail: c/o arbel@mail.idf.il

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