In recent days, the Israeli army have intensified their harassment of the villagers of Bil’in, beating and arresting villagers attending to their land trapped behind the annexation wall.
Problems started on Friday when a villager was handcuffed, blindfolded, and dragged to the gate in the wall by soldiers, who threatened to kill him and told him he couldn’t be on the land. This in violation of Septembers high court decision to grant Bil’in residents access to their land trapped behind the wall.
The scene was repeated on Saturday when the army woke up a Bil’in resident and Israeli activists sleeping at an outpost on the village land trapped behind the wall with soundbombs. They then proceeded to beat, handcuff, threatened, and dump the Palestinian man on the village’s side of the fence.
On Sunday afternoon a settler from the nearby Modiin Illit settlment, a bulldozer, and soldiers arrived at the outpost threatening to destroy the structure. The farmers who were present working on their lands were detained and told them that land further East from the outpost cannot be worked on, again in violation of Septembers court decision. The soldiers confiscated a tractor from one of the farmers as they were leaving and the farmer was forced to go to Beit-El to retrieve it. More Bilin residents and Israeli activists then came down to the site. Later that day soldiers beat all present and took video tapes a Bil’in resident had taken earlier in the day.
On Sunday night more Israeli and international activists arrived and slept at the outpost, but thankfully there was no trouble.
On Monday afternoon a Bilin farmer was detained and forced to watch as soldiers fired live ammunition into his flock of sheep, killing one. On Monday night Palestinian, Israeli and international activists slept at the outpost without harassment.
During the last few days many complaints have been lodged and yesterday the army district commander was replaced as a result. The new commander has promised to look into the complaints about the abuses of the last few days and hopefully the situation will return to a state of relative calm. Palestinian, Israeli and international activists will continue to keep a presence at the outpost in case the abuses continue.