One year on, the community of Bil’in continues its tireless non-violent struggle against Israel’s wall despite the heavy cost this has meant to the village.
Helping to ease the economic burden that has fallen on Bil’in due to arrests, imprisonments and fines of local people is an important way we can support of their struggle.
Making a financial contribution to ISM’s legal fund is one way to show villagers they are not alone in opposing the theft of village land by the wall and in seeking justice and the upholding of international law.
The use of non-violent action in Bil’in the past year has been successful in drawing attention to this issue, but it has come at a price. By making a donation towards legal costs, you can show your solidarity with the community in a very practical way.
Already, thanks to generous donors, ISM’s Legal fund has been able to make a big difference.
Since October, 2005 the Israeli military has being conducting night raids on the village, arresting young men and children other Non Violent leaders and activists have been arrested from the demonstrations. Those arrested reported they have been abused or tortured in confinement. Recently 18 villagers were charged with one to four months in Israeli military prison and 1,000 to 2,000 NIS each in fines. Every 1,000 NIS ($213) left unpaid results in an additional one month of imprisonment.
Many economically devastated families are unable to pay and are left feeling helpless and humiliated, unable to prevent further weeks of abuse for their sons and husbands.
Following a legal struggle within the Israeli military system some prisoners were offered release on bail of between 2,000 and 10,000 NIS each.
The ISM Legal Fund has been able to support the community of Bil’in by posting 39,000 NIS ($8,300) in bail for the release of community leaders and activists and 18,000 NIS ($3,800) in fines to allow families to release their loved ones. ISM would like to thank you for your support and ask that you continue to give so we can prevent other instances of needless incarceration. Following is a list of people the ISM Legal Fund helped using your contributions:
– Rateb Abu Rahme was released on bail for 5,000 NIS after being arrested while lying down holding a cardboard tomb stone that read Bil’in R.I.P. 2005. Assault charges were dropped and his bail money returned after video evidence proved his innocence.
– Abdullah Abu Rahme was released on bail twice adding up to 11,000 NIS after being arrested out of an installation of a bridge that read “Peace needs bridges not walls” and a second time while holding a tombstone.
– Abdel Fatah Burnat was released from custody on 2,000 NIS bail after he was arrested from a cage built on the route of the annexation barrier.
– Tamer was released on 2,000 NIS bail after being arrested from a metal tube placed on the route of the wall.
– Riad and Elyan were released on 15,000 NIS bail, (5,000 paid by the ISM and the 10,000 by Israeli peace activist groups.) after being arrested out of a non-violent crowd by undercover provocateurs.
– Akram Khatib was released on 4,000 NIS bail while trying to protect in Abdullah from arrest.
– Hamze Samara was released from custody on 10,000 NIS bail and is awaiting trial. He was arrested from home and charged with causing damage to the “security fence” and released on 10,000 NIS bail.
– Ashraf Ibrahim Abu Rahme, Abdullah Ahmed Yassin, (14), Faraj Yasin (19), Khalid Shokat Khatib (20), Mohammed Abdel fatah Burnat, and Wajdi Khatib (17) have been released after serving a jail sentence of one to four months in Israeli military prison and 1,000 to 2,000 NIS each in fines
– Fadel Awad Ali Yassin(23), Iwad Imram Khatib, Jawad Khatib (19) Nour Mahmoud, Yassin (19), Nayef Gazzi Al Khatib (18), Basem Ahmed Issa Yassin (28), Baasil Shokat Al Khatib (21), Hasan Awad Yassin (26) Mohammed Omran Khatib (23) and Saji Mohammed Ali Nasser Are still in prison and have paid 1,000 shekel each.
– Issrar Samara (22) and Khelmi Abu Rahme are imprisoned and awaiting Trial.
Remember, Bil’in was not always impoverished. In the last five years many villagers have been cut off from their sources of income due to the closure of Israel to Palestinian workers, the Israeli siege on Palestinian cities and villages and the theft of farmland for settlement construction.
Villagers have engaged the Israeli military through a variety of creative non-violent tactics to interfere with the construction of the annexation barrier on their land. The barrier, justified by Israel as a security measure, will separate villagers from more than half their land in order to absorb the illegal Modi’in Illit settlement and surrounding land to allow for its expansion into Israel.
How to donate towards Bil’in’s resistance to the wall
Please make donations to ISM’s Legal Fund to help us continue to assist the village of Bil’in. Donations can be made on the ISM website through PayPal (above on the right or at www.palsolidarity.org/main/donations/), or by mailing checks to:
ISM – USA
PO BOX 5073
BERKELEY CA 94705-0073
Please make checks out to: “MECA (ISM-USA Fund)”. The Middle East Children’s Alliance is the fiscal sponsor for ISM-USA. They are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Their tax exemption number is: 94-3074600.
If your organization is able to pledge money, please write to us. We thank Israeli lawyer Tamar Peleg of Hamoked, and the Palestinian Prisoner support organization Addameer, who have generously donated their services and represented activists from Bil’in pro-bono.