8 May 2009
Palestinian, Israeli, and international protesters walked through the streets of Bil’in on Friday wearing surgical masks to protect themselves from the “Occupation Flu” which first infected Palestinians sixty-one years ago. It has caused the deaths of thousands of Palestinians, injured hundreds of thousands and has put millions in prisons, including Israeli prisons but also the prisons created by the wall in the West Bank and the siege on Gaza.
Protesters carried banners that read, “Stop the Occupation Flu” and called on international health and human rights institutions to intervene in order to save the Palestinian people from this dangerous disease which is spreading in the region and is threatening the rest of the world. Protestors also carried Palestinian flags and photos of the martyr Bassem Abu Rahmah, Bil’in’s most recent victim of the “Occupation Flu”, who was killed by the Israeli army three weeks ago.
The Israeli army responded to the demonstration by firing teargas and rubber-coated steal bullets into the crowd, causing eight injuries and dozens of cases of teargas inhalation. The injuries are Abdullah Aburahma, Fadel Alkhatib, Adeeb Aburahma, Abdullah Yassen, Ibraheem Burnat, Mohammed Aburahma, Mustafa Alkhatib and Hytham Alkhatib.
On Thursday night, the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bil’in organized a short biographical film about the martyr Bassem Abu Rahmah entitled, “Bassem, Friend of All”. The film focused on the period of Bassem’s life spent participating in the struggle against the wall. Bassem had spent the last four years of his life involved in this struggle until he was killed by an Israeli soldier with a teargas canister on the April 17, 2009. The film was shown outdoors in Bil’in and many residents from Bil’in and surrounding villages showed up.
In other news, a delegation of French university students and faculty visited Bil’in yesterday and had a tour around the village and a presentation about the Wall.
The Popular Committee this week also received a response from the Norwegian government regarding a petition submitted by Bil’in and Jayyous to open an investigation into Norwegian companies that are investing in Africa-Israel Investments, Ltd. which is owned by billionaire Lev Leviev. Leviev is known to support the building of settlements, especially the eastern half of the Mattityahu settlement bloc which is built on Bil’in’s land and the settlement of Zufim which is built on Jayyous’s land.
In other news, the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bil’in deplores the arrest of five leaders of the Popular Committee in Alm’asra they are: Mahmoud Zawahra coordinator of Alm’asra Committee, Mohammed Burjya, a spokesman for the Media Commission, and his brother Hassan, Azmi Alchiokhi, who is president of the Popular Committees in Hebron, Mustafa Faouar. The Committee calls upon the People’s human rights organizations to intervene for the release of five leaders, and this is comes within the occupation forces to target the leaders of the popular events to discourage the continuation of events against the construction of the wall and settlements.