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Palestinians Give the Israeli military a ‘Gift House’

They Receive Rubber Bullets and Tear Gas in Return in Bilin

by Ninna and Palle

Today’s demonstration in Bil’in sent a message to world. “Even though settlers are being removed from Gaza, many new settlements are being built in the West Bank.” The 27-foot Apartheid wall eats up more land for existing settlements and tears down Palestinian farms for new settlements. So, the people of Bil’in built a “settler house” out of styrene plastic and gave it as a “gift” to the Israeli Occupation Force (IOF) who protects the wall’s construction site outside the village.

The demonstrators also demanded the release of Abdullah Abu-Rahme, a prominent leader in the Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, the group that organizes regular non-violent demonstrations. He was arrested two weeks ago at another demonstration in Bil’in and was charged with assaulting a police officer, even though video evidence shows that he was completely non-violent during the arrest.

To show their solidarity with him, many people today wore signs saying: “I’m Abdullah Abu-Rahme”. As the 1:00 pm demonstration moved towards the wall, it was, as usual, stopped by the IOF just outside the village. Many people sat down in front of the soldiers, who soon began shooting sound bombs and teargas at the demonstrators and into the village. Many people moved back, while some young boys threw stones at the soldiers that were inside the village. After a while the soldier’s aggression stopped, and people were able to go back to the frontline again.

Organizers then decided that people should move back to show that they had no intention of violent confrontation, and that the violence only comes from the soldiers. Right after the demonstrators had started to slowly move back, soldiers attacked again with teargas and rubber bullets.

As the soldiers moved into the village, young boys threw stones, trying to protect the village. The soldiers arrested three Israelis, and one international who tried to de-arrest an Israeli. They had all stayed up front in order to protect the rest of the demonstrators.

After two hours, the soldiers pulled out, and released the four people who had been detained. Five Palestinians were injured, four by rubber bullets, while one was hit by a teargas canister.