by the ISM media team, December 9th
Internationals have been banned by the IOF from visiting the land of Bil’in village that lies on the other side of the illegal apartheid wall. In recent days internationals have been told by soldiers stationed at the checkpoint at the wall cutting through the village, that orders have been given forbidding access to this land. For the past year internationals have been able to cross the wall to visit and stay at the outpost built on village land and to help work the agricultural land. Settler-colonists from the illegal colony of Matityahu East have in the past set fire to the outpost, making the need for a permanent presence at the outpost essential.
In the past year the outpost has served as a meeting place for villagers and friends, has been a focus for the enjoyment of the World Cup and internationals helped with the olive harvest on the other side of the wall. All these displays of friendship and international solidarity have now been brought to an end in this latest attempt to ghettoize the village. Half of the village land has been annexed by the Israeli colony of Matityahu East and now the village is being denied their right to use the remaining land across the wall as they wish.
In a rare piece of ‘good news’ for the village, Emad Burnat, the Reuters cameraman fitted up, assaulted by soldiers, denied medical treatment and slung in jail for 3 weeks has been released from house arrest and can now return home to his family in Bil’in.
Press watchdog Reporters without Borders drew attention to Emad’s arrest and the trumped-up charges brought against him for his role in documenting IOF violence and intimidation in Bil’in.