1 January 2010
Residents of Bil’in gathered today after the noon prayers to demonstrate against the Israeli occupation and the Apartheid Wall on to commemorate the first anniversary of the brutal Israeli aggression on Gaza. In addition, they celebrated the 45th anniversary of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, Fatah.
The demonstration, organized by the Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, was joined by dozens of international and Israeli activists as well as members of the Revolutionary Council of Fatah, the Palestinian National Liberation Movement Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Front.
Commemorating the first anniversary of the Israeli assault on Gaza, demonstrators marched through the village towards the site of the Apartheid Wall and chanted slogans expressing their solidarity with Palestinian residents of Gaza and demanding the end of the crippling siege imposed by Israel. Protesters raised Palestinian flags and banners condemning the Israeli policy of settlement expansion and ethnic cleansing, namely the recent settler takeovers and plans to build new settlements in Jerusalem. They also called for the release of all Palestinian political prisoners.
When the march reached the gate of the Apartheid Wall the Israeli military stationed on the other side of the wall immediately responded by throwing tear-gas at the demonstrators and shooting sound grenades. Despite the violence from the army, the demonstrators managed to open the gate in the wall in an attempt to reach their land, stolen by Israel for the construction of the Wall and settlement blocks behind it. Dozens suffered tear-gas inhalation.
The residents of the village also called for the release of all Bil’in prisoners today, including Abdallah Abu Rahmah, coordinator of the Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements. After his court was postponed this Tuesday, 29 December, the military prosecution requested to extend Abdallah’s detention by a further 101 days. This decision was taken in the absence of Abdallah’s lawyer, Gabi Lasky, who said she was planning to appeal to the military court. The Israeli occupation forces arrested Abdallah in the middle of the night on 10 December after raiding his house in al-Tira neighbourhood of Ramallah. His charges include incitement, stone throwing and arms possession, which has been brought against him merely for collecting and displaying spent tear-gas canisters, used against the Bil’in demonstrators by the Israeli army.