Support Bil’in’s struggle
“Just as a simple man named Ghandi led the successful non-violent struggle in India and simple people such as Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela led the struggle for civil rights in the United States, simple people here in Bil’in are leading a non-violent struggle that will bring them their freedom. The South Africa experience proves that injustice can be dismantled.”
– Archbishop Desmond Tutu, during a visit to Bil’in on 27 August 2009
The Israeli military’s most recent attempt to crush Bil’in village’s ongoing popular non-violent resistance campaign against the Apartheid Wall is a wave of night raids and arrests targeting protesters and the leadership of Bil’in’s Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements.
The recent raids began concurrently with the opening of a legal trial in Montreal. The village of Bil’in has taken two companies registered in Canada (Green Park International & Green Mount International) to court for participating in war crimes by building settlements on Bil’in’s land under the 2000 Canadian Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Statute (which incorporates both the articles of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute into Canadian federal law).
According to Bil’in’s attorney Emily Schaeffer, the judge Justice Louis-Paul Cullen is meant to give a decision very soon about whether the Canadian court has jurisdiction to hear Bil’in’s claims.
Since the trail began Israeli forces have arrested 30 people (most of which are under 18). Twenty-one residents of Bil’in remain in Israeli detention.
Through Israel’s interrogation and intimidation tactics, some of arrested youth have falsely ‘confessed’ that the Bil’in Popular Committee urges the demonstrators to throw stones. With such ‘confessions’, Israeli forces then proceed to raid the village at night , invade homes and arrest leaders of the non-violent struggle in the community.
Two of the three popular committee members who traveled to Montreal to represent the villages case , Mohammad Khatib and Mohammad Abu Rahme were arrested and have since been released on bail. (see B’Tselem report: http://www.btselem.org/english/separation_barrier/20090818_night_arrests_in_bilin.asp).
Another leading Bil’in non-violent activist, Adeeb Abu Rahme, remains in detention since his arrest during a non-violent demonstration on 10 July 2009 (see report & video: http://palsolidarity.org/2009/07/7652. Adib has been charged with “incitement to damage the security of the area.”
On 29 August 2009, two additional Bil’in houses were simultaneously raided by at least 40 soldiers, arresting Ashraf Al-Khatib (age 29) and Hamru Bornat (age 24). A local cameraman, Haitham Al-Khatib, brother of the arrested Hamru, was repeatedly forcibly moved and hit, and threatened with arrest unless he stopped filming. Soldiers declared his home a “closed military zone” but could not produce any military order.
What can you do?
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.
- Please protest by contacting your political representatives, as well as your consuls and ambassadors to Israel to demand that Israel stops targeting non-violent popular resistance and release Adib Abu Rahme and all Bil’in prisoners.
- The Popular Committee of Bil’in is in desperate need for funds in order to pay legal fees both for the trail in Montréal and for representing the arrested protesters in the military courts and bail.Please donate to the Bil’in legal fund through PayPal. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation in the US or Canada contact: [email protected]
The Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements
The Palestinian village of Bil’in has become an international symbol of the Palestinian popular struggle. For almost 5 years, its residents have been continuously struggling against the de facto annexation of more than 50% of their farmlands, confiscated for the construction of the Apartheid Wall.
In a celebrated decision, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled on the 4 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. The struggle of the village to liberate its lands and stop the illegal settlements has been internationally recognized and has earned the popular committee in Bil’in the Carl von Ossietzky Meda award.