Bil’in Popular Committee
30 October 2009
Adeeb Abu Rahmah was arrested on 10 July this year, and is still held in custody for taking part in organizing the village’s demonstrations. Demonstrators wore masks of his face and called for his release.
Two protestors were injured today, while several suffered from tear gas inhalation during the weekly Friday demonstration in Bil’in.
The demonstration was called by the Popular Committee Against the Wall and began after the Friday prayers. Bil’in citizens were joined by a group of international and Israeli solidarity activists and together they raised Palestinian flags and banners condemning the occupation, racist policy of building the Wall and settlements, land confiscation, road closures and detention and killing of innocent people.
Adeeb Abu Rahmah, a leading activist and organizer from the West Bank village of Bil’in has been held in detention since his arrest during a demonstration on 10 July 2009 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqaO8lFYuM0).
Bil’in’s weekly demonstration against the Wall and settlements was devoted to calling for the release of Abu Rahmah, as well as to protesting the ongoing attempts to eliminate the village’s resistance. Protesters marched on Friday wearing masks of Adeeb, declaring “We are all Adeeb Abu Rahmah”.
Abu Rahmah, who has been detained for over three months, is not suspected of committing any violence, but was indicted with a blanket charge of “incitement to violence”, which was very liberally interpreted in this case to include the organizing of grassroots demonstrations. A judge had initially ruled that Abu Rahmah is released with restrictive conditions, but an appeal filed by the military prosecution had the decision overturned, and he was remanded until the end of legal proceedings. Since the arrest, the defense has appealed this decision four times. Trials often last up to a year and Abu Rahmah is the sole provider for a family of eleven.
Abu Rahmah’s arrest came amidst an Israeli arrest and intimidation campaign that began concurrently with preliminary hearings in a Bil’in lawsuit against two Canadian companies responsible for the construction in the settlement of Modiin Illit. In almost five years of protest, 75 Bil’in residents were arrested in connection to demonstrations against the Wall. Of them, 27 have been arrested in the recent, ongoing arrest campaign. Israeli forces have been regularly invading homes and forcefully searching for demonstration participants, targeting the leaders of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, as well as teenage boys accused of stone throwing. Sixteen currently remain in detention, nine of which are minors.
On 23 June 2009, the Canadian court heard the preliminary arguments for a suit brought by Bil’in against two companies registered in Canada (Green Park International & Green Mount International). The village is seeking justice against the construction of settlements on its lands under the 2000 Canadian Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Statute, which incorporates international humanitarian law into Canadian federal law. Some of the people arrested in the latest wave of arrests have reported being questioned in regards to this suit during their interrogation.