14 July 2009
Adeeb Abu Rahme, a leading Palestinian non-violent peace activist was arrested in the weekly Bil’in demonstration against the Apartheid Wall (see the video, Adeeb is the protester in the orange shirt with the mega-phone). The Israeli military is charging Adeeb with “incitement to violence,” a charge that could bring a serious jail term. This charge is the culmination of a new attempt to “break” the non-violent resistance in Palestine by targeting the leaders of the non-violent protests.
Adeeb is currently in detention and will be taken in front of a military judge on Thursday, 16 July 2009. The military prosecutor intends to request for Adeeb to remain in detention until the end of the proceedings against him. This could mean months or a year in military prison for Adeeb, who is the sole provider for his family of 9 children, wife and mother.
In the past five years, many attempts have been made by the to break the spirit of the Bil’in protests. Every new commander in Bil’in has promised to break the resistance, using new weapons and increasing the level of violence against unarmed demonstrators. But the spirit and resilience of Bil’in residents and their supporters cannot be broken; every Friday they continue to march and chant against the theft of Palestinian land and the systemic violence of the Occupation.
In the past month, Israeli forces have attacked Bil’in and other villages with renewed vigor, raiding homes in the early hours of the morning to seize suspected demonstrators. Mostly children under the age of 18, they are interrogated and pressured to ‘confess’ that they throw stones at the instructions of the village leaders. The truth remains that village leaders discourage stone throwing and recognize that it is used as a tool by the Occupation to falsely accuse the demonstrations of instigating violence. The Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements requested the presence of Israeli and international solidarity activists to document and discourage the night raids.
Anyone of the thousands who have marched with Adeeb can testify that despite provocation and serious attacks on his person, he has never responded violently. Attempts to criminalize the leadership of non-violent protests where curbed in the past with the help of an outpouring of support from people committed to justice from all over the world. We need you now to testify to Adeeb’s commitment to non-violence and to hold the Israeli military accountable for trying to destroy the resistance.
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To whom it may concern,
I was disturbed to learn that Mr. Adeeb Abu Rahme, a leader in his village and participant in the non-violent demonstrations that take place in Bil’in every Friday, was arrested for peacefully demonstrating against Israel’s separation fence on July 10th, 2009 and is still being held in prison. Over the past five years Mr. Rahme and the leaders in Bil’in village have displayed an unshakable commitment to non-violence and dignified action.
Mr. Rahme in particular is well known for his commitment to the struggle for peace through non-violent means and for his willingness to work in partnership with Israelis. He is a respected member of the community. I am impressed with his honesty and commitment to non-violence. My understanding of Israeli law is that the right to demonstrate peacefully is protected. Mr. Rahme should be commended and not punished for his efforts.
I hope and trust that Mr. Rahme will be allowed to return to his family, including his 9 children, wife and mother for whom he is the sole supporter, and community without further delay and that his name be cleared of all accusations.