In a demonstration held at noon on Dec 23, the villagers of Bil’in erected a tent on land cut off from the village by the annexation barrier. The tent was meant to replace the trailer that was forcefully evacuated and removed the day before by the Israeli military. The tent and trailer are the headquarters of “The centre for joint struggle”.
The evacuation took place a few hundred meters away from the construction site of the Matityahu Mizrah settlement where, according to the Israeli civil administration, hundreds of housing units are being built without permit contrary to Israeli law (not to mention International law).
Some 400 Palestinians, Israelis and internationals, walked peacefully from the village to the soldiers’ lines and managed to put up the tent despite the soldiers’ violent attempts to prevent them. The demonstrators chanted and sang in the rain around the tent.
Some of the villagers tried to access their lands across mounds of rocks nearby while soldiers beat them with batons in response. Suddenly a group of soldiers went after one of villagers, Adib Abu Rahma, father of 8 children; they pushed him to the ground hitting his head strongly on a rock and then dragged behind a military jeep kicking him along the
Soon after Israeli activist Yotam Ronnen was also arrested. According to Yotam, soldiers of the “Yasam” unit, beat him and Adib, focusing on Adib, while the two were sitting on the ground with their hands handcuffed behind there backs.
“Adib was already in a lot of pain from the blow to his head. I kept asking the soldiers to have the military doctor who was there with them check Adib. When they finally did this half an hour later the military doctor concluded that due to his head injury Adib requires hospitalisation. Despite this and the fact that he was clearly in severe pain the military released me after some time but kept Adib.” said Yotam.
Adib was transferred to Givat Zeev settlement police station and interrogated for five hours. At 9:00 PM he was transferred by a Palestinian ambulance to a hospital in Ramallah. He was later released to his home but was not able to comment due his condition.
Israeli activist Leiser Peles and another Palestinian activist were also beaten severely.
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The route of the wall in Bil’in was designed to annex Bil’in’s lands to allow for the expansion of the Modi’in Elite settlement.