FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
On Sunday 3rd August Israel’s Supreme Court will decide if the State of Israel is in contempt of court regarding the withdrawal of the Apartheid Wall from the village of Bil’in.
Bil’in is a small village close to Jerusalem near the illegal Israeli settlement of Mod’in Illit. The Apartheid Wall skirts around this
illegal settlement and cuts off much of Bil’in’s agricultural land. The wall, which is a quadruple fence and military road in this area, left plenty of space for the settlement to expand; the planned “Mod’in Illit B” building project.
On September 4, 2007, the Supreme Court ordered the Israeli authorities to redraw the path of the wall because the current route was deemed “highly prejudicial” to the villagers of Bil’in. The judgement set out four conditions for a new route for the wall, which must:
– Leave the land for the planned expansion of the settlement on the Palestinian side of the wall.
– Take a minimum of Bil’in’s cultivated land.
– Be built as much as possible on illegal settlement land, rather than Bil’in’s land.
– Leave 5 areas of Palestinian land currently within the settlement ‘outside’ and back on the Bil’in side of the wall.
After months of inaction, and facing a legal challenge for not enforcing the court’s judgment, the authorities finally submitted a
new plan for the wall at Bil’in in July this year.
The proposed new route returns a mere 26 hectares to the village out of approximately 200 hectares taken by the exiting route. Of these 26 hectares, about 14 hectares were devastated by the old route, and the remaining 12 hectares are planted with olive trees. The new route will take almost 15 hectares densely planted with olive trees and destroy them completely. In other words, the village will lose even more land if the revised plan is accepted.
Michael Sfard, the atterney who acts on behalf of Bil’in, will argue that this new proposal for the route of the wall meets none of the criteria and that the proposal constitutes contempt of court.
Bil’in has become famous for holding a protest march against the apartheid wall every Friday afternoon for past three and a half years. In that time the Friday march has attracted world famous artists, celebrities and politicians. They have been joined by a wide variety of international and Israeli pressure groups.
For further information contact:
Bil’in’s Popular Committee:
Abdullah Abu Rahme : 054-725-8210
Mohammed Khatib : 054-557-3285
ISM Media Office: 02 297 1824.