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Bil’in village will hold a mass demonstration against the ongoing Israeli arrest and intimidation campaign

14 August 2009

For Immediate Release:

Bil’in village will hold a mass demonstration against the ongoing Israeli arrest and intimidation campaign on Friday, 14 August 2009 at one PM. Bil’in residents along with Israeli and international supporters will attempt to march to the village land beyond the Apartheid Wall.

At 2 AM on the 10 August 2009, Israeli forces raided the home of a jailed member of the Bil’in popular committee, Mohammad Khatib. The heavily armed solders, their faces daubed with black paint, entered and “searched” the home now occupied by Mohammad’s wife, Lamya, and their small children. The soldiers then ordered Lamya to take them to the house of Khatib’s elderly father, Abdel Karim. Lamya repeatedly refused to cooperate. The soldiers proceeded to raid Mohammad’s father’s home and summoned him to appear for interrogation with the Israeli secret service (Shabak). While Abdel Karim was being interrogated by the Shabak the next day, an officer called his wife in front of him and threatened her with the arrest of her entire family.

The latest wave of arrests and Israeli night raids on the West Bank village of Bil’in began on 23 June 2009, To date, Israeli forces have arrested 25 people (most are under 18). Eighteen of the 25 remain in detention. Through Israel’s interrogation and intimidation tactics, two of the arrested youth have ‘confessed’ that the Bil’in Popular Committee urges the demonstrators to throw stones. With such ‘confessions’, Israeli forces then proceed to arrest leaders in the community, including Adeeb Abu Rahme and Mohammad Khatib.

Abdullah Abu Rahme, coordinator of the Bil’in popular committee, states that “While the Bil’in committee does encourage residents, Israeli and international supporters to take part in demonstrations, we call for non-violent participation. The occupation forces in addition to using excessive and sometimes lethal violence against us have planted undercover agents to throw stones from the demonstrations on several occasions. Mohammad Khatib and Adeeb Abu Rahme, along with other leaders of the Palestinian popular struggle, are being targeted because they mobilize Palestinians to resist non- violently. Israel is stealing our land from us and then prosecuting us as criminals because we struggle non-violently for justice.”

Mohammad Khatib will be taken in front of a military court this Thursday,13th August when the military prosecution will ask to prolong his detention for the duration of his trial. A similar request to hold popular leader Adeeb abu Rahme was granted by a military judge on July 21st. Adeeb has been in detention since his arrest during a non-violent demonstration on July 10th. Both leaders are being charged with “incitement to damage the security of the area.”

Lamya Khatib, whose husband and younger brother, Abdullah, are both currently imprisoned at Ofer military base, stated: “It is obvious that the Israeli authorities will do all that they can to prevent Palestinians and Israelis from working together towards a just peace. but I know that Mohammed, Abdullah and I, and everyone in Bil’in, will continue our struggle for justice.”

Your presence and support are needed in Bil’in on Friday, 14 August 2009 at one PM! Join us in sending the message that the non-violent resistance campaign will continue until we reclaim our rights!