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Bil’in: Undercovers arrest Palestinian youth at his workplace

Popular Struggle Coordination Committee

19 November 2009

In an escalation of the recent arrest campaign conducted by the Israeli military in attempt to crush the popular struggle against the Wall in the village, an undercover army unit invaded Bil’in this morning and arrested a local youth, 19 year old Mohammad Yassin.

In the morning hours of Thursday, 19 November 2009, a civilian Isuzu pickup with undercover soldiers dressed as Palestinians, drove into the village of Bil’in, searching for residents suspected of organizing and participating in the village’s weekly demonstrations. At around 9am, the soldiers arrived at the garage where Yassin works and arrested him. The arrest involved the beating of Yassin himself, as well as of his brother and his mother, who assumed that the disguised soldiers were just random by-passers attacking their kin.

The use of the undercover army units to capture ‘wanted’ people that are suspected of nothing else than participating in and planning of grassroots demonstrations, represent an escalation of the arrest campaign the army is conducting against the residents of the village. In addition to Yassin, another 27 Bil’in residents were arrested for their involvement in the demonstrations since the 23 June 2009. Among them is Adeeb Abu Rahma, who has been held in detention for more than four months under a charge of ‘incitement’ – a euphemism for organizing demonstrations.

Recently, attorney Gaby Lasky, who represents Bil’in’s detainees, was informed by the military prosecution that the army intends to put an end to the demonstrations through use legal procedures against demonstrators. Lasky stated today that “This is a blatant example of political persecution using legal means, because the charges and the arrests are being carried out not for legal purposes but with political motivations. It is important to remember that it is the state that is in contempt of a High Court of Justice ruling, which affirmed two years ago that it is the demonstrators who have justice on their side, and instructed to move the route of the Wall in the area – something that has not been done yet.”

The secretary of the village council and member of the Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, Mohammed Khatib, stated that “the Army is determined to crush the popular resistance but we will continue to demand our rights even if we are all forced to do so from inside military prison cells. Even the Israeli court ruled that the Wall on our land is not legal and has to be dismantled. Despite this, not only has the Wall not moved even an inch, but the Army comes to imprison us for struggling for our land, while it itself is breaking the law – its own law.