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Bil’in leading demonstrator imprisoned by Israeli forces

For Immediate Release:

Tuesday July 21, Ofer military base, Occupied West Bank: In a new escalation in the military’s campaign targeting the popular protests in Bil’in against the Annexation barrier, a military appeals judge ruled that non-violent Bil’in activist Adeeb Abu Rahme be held until the end of proceedings against him. This could mean months or a year in military prison for Adeeb who was arrested from the demonstration against the annexation barrier that took place in Bil’in village on 10 of July. Adeeb, a leading non-violent activist in Bil’in’s ongoing struggle against the Wall and settlements on their land, is being charged with incitement to violence and rioting.He is the sole provider for his family of 9 children, wife and mother.

Bil’in residents have been holding weekly demonstrations for the last 5 years. In a celebrated decision, the Israeli Supreme court ruled on the 4th of September 2007 that the current route of the wall in Bil’in was illegal and needs to be dismantled; the ruling however has not been implemented. Israeli forces have been conducting night arrest raids on the village since 29 June 2009.

Since the renewed campaign against Bil’in demonstrators, 17 have been arrested. Of the 17 arrested, 13, mostly children are still in detention.

Kamel Alkhatib (16), Khalil Yassen (16), Mohammed Abu Rahmah (23), Motasem Alkhatib (17), Hamwda Yassen (17), Mohsen Alkhatib (17), Suliman Alwalydi (17), Oda Abu Rahmah (20), Mahmud Yassen, Majdi Abu Rahmah, Adeeb Abu Rahmah , Ronnie Barken (Israeli activist), Charlie (American activist), Basel Bornat (20), Mohammad Bornat (19), Emad Bornat and Tamer Alkhatib.

Abdullah Abu Rahme coordinator of the popular committee stated, “Adib has been injured dozens of times over the course the last five years and as all the video footage and thousand and witness can attest he has never responded with violence. The recent arrests of activists against the wall , like all previous attempts to criminalize and intimidate non-violent Palestinian resistance, is doomed to failure. The fact is the Apartheid Wall and the settlements built on Palestinian land are illegal under international law, in the case of our village even the biased Israeli court declared the route illegal. Yet instead of prosecuting the constructors of the Apartheid Wall and settlements Israel is prosecuting us for struggling nonviolently for our freedom.”

A military judge had ruled that Adib Abu Rahme be released with the condition of staying 100 meters from the Wall on Thursday, 16 July. But the military prosecution appealed then at 5:00 am on Sunday, 19 July, Israeli soldiers surrounded the home of journalist and film maker Imad Burnat, 37, pulling him from his home in front of his wife and four children, and pushing him into one of their vehicles. Imad was questioned by the Israeli secret service about his filming of the demonstrations in Bil’in and about Adib who frequently appears in his footage.The footage can be seen on http://www.bilin-village.org/english/videos/3090-Bilin-againts-the-Wall-a-film-by-Emad-Bornat. Clips from this “incriminating” footage was shown to the appeals Military appealls judge later that day. and the decision of the previous military judge was reversed.

In response, the Bil’in popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements is organizing a demonstration on Wednesday, 22 July 2009.