29 June 2009
We give a lot of attention to the weekly nonviolent protests in the village of Bil’in as they are an inspiring example of popular resistance in the face of Israeli repression. But the truth is that the village is under constant threat of attack from the Israeli military, not just during protests. The video below should be an international scandal, instead it’s just another night in the occupied territories. From the Friends of Freedom and Justice – Bilin:
At around 2:30am two groups of around 35 soldiers (70 total) descended on the village of Bi’lin. They raided several houses, detained their inhabitants, and searched the inside of the houses. When members of the ISM and the Popular Committee of Bi’lin confronted the soldiers, they called all of Bi’lin a closed military zone and threatened to arrest anyone out of their house or anyone on top of a house taking pictures. In the course of these house raids, they kidnapped a 16 year old boy (Mohsen Kateb) from his house and took him away into the night. And they kidnapped a 16 year old boy (Hamoda Yaseen)from his house and took him away into the night. Haitham al-Katib, a respected Palestinian activist in Bi’lin was video taping the raids when soldiers aggressively pushed him against a wall and threatened him with arrest. Two members of the ISM intervened on his behalf and were able to wrest him out of the grasp of the soldiers. They then raided the house of Iyad Burant, the head of the popular committee, and threatened his 9 year old son (Abdal kalik) with physical harm if he didn’t produce a camera he was holding. After several people including 2 internationals intervened by blocking the soldiers path, they were also threatened with arrest and were pushed by the soldiers. After repeated efforts, the soldiers gave up and left that particular house.
This raid follows on the heels of others that have happened almost every night for 2 weeks. Today’s arrest now brings the total to seven people, who have been arrested and taken away since the onset of the raids. Bi’lin currently is facing the loss of sixty percent of its farmland due to the construction of the apartheid wall and the illegal settlements that have followed in the wake of the wall.