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Justice for Adeeb Abu Rahma: Peaceful protest is not a crime

International Solidarity Movement

23 June 2010

The conflict between the Israeli military and security and the popular non-violent Palestinian resistance is reaching a crisis – in large part a tribute to the worldwide credibility and admiration the resistance is steadily winning.

Today in Palestine, such resistance is breaking out in larger towns, small villages, Bedouin encampments, in both Christian and Muslim areas. People are marching, chanting and singing, carrying signs, and often using very funny or touching street theatre. Palestinians are calling for their rights, joined and assisted by international and Israeli volunteers in a new model of friendship and brotherhood that offers hope for the future.

This movement has terrified the Israeli establishment, especially as the usual techniques have failed to stop its momentum. Arrests, serious and crippling injuries, deaths, and destruction of property (the ability to earn a living), have all made huge and painful inroads into people’s lives and hopes. Despite this, resistance continues.

Widespread sentiment is that this is the last chance, that no-one can stop now if they ever wish to gain their freedom and the justice that has been denied them.

A perfect symbol of this conflict is Adeeb Abu Rahma from Bil’in: one of the most charismatic, courageous, creative and at times hilariously funny activists.

Adeeb has been convicted for crimes of “incitement” – that is, urging the villagers to come out on Fridays to join the weekly protest – and for belonging to the Bil’in Popular Committee. These manufactured “crimes” apply to all the leaders and most of the participants of all the nonviolent movements in all the towns and villages of Palestine. If they are determined by the Israeli military to be illegal in Palestine, and a heavy sentence applied, then the entire resistance movement is threatened. Which is, of course, the point.

Adeeb is due to be sentenced in a few days. International law specifically recognizes the right of occupied people to resist occupation – that these people have chosen to do this in a nonviolent way shows great wisdom and restraint. This choice should be welcomed rather than criminalized by Israel if they have any intention of living here in peace with their neighbors.

Join us to support Adeeb:

Please contact your Embassies and Consulates in Jerusalem (http://www.embassiesabroad.com/embassies-in/Israel) to ask for their help in preventing an act that will hurt both sides as they search for a way to live together in peace.

Dear Ambassador/Consul,

I/we are writing to ask for your help in preventing a miscarriage of justice in the case of Adeeb abu Rahma, who has been convicted in military court of “incitement” (that is, encouraging people from his village to take part in the weekly demonstrations against the illegal wall that confiscates most of the village land), and of belonging to a Popular Commitee in his village of Bil’in.

Lengthy efforts to convict Adeeb of stone throwing or other violent acts have failed, and so the government is attempting to criminalize acts of non-violent resistance. Such resistance is clearly defined in international law as being a legal right for anyone under occupation (1977 Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts, Article 1, Paragraph 4).

When Israel was suffering from suicide bombing attacks, prominent Israeli figures asked loudly and often, “Where is the Palestinian Gandhi; where is a resistance that does not involve terror?” Now that Israel faces such resistance, with leaders who are willing to talk to them as equals, they are using every weapon at their disposal to intimidate, discourage, wound and even kill both those who lead it and the ordinary Palestinians who take part. Does Israel want to force Palestinians back to a more violent path? This the time for Israel to come to terms with the reality of Palestinian rights and needs, and to begin to reason their way forward to a future where both peoples can live in this land without fear of the other.

The case of Adeeb abu Rahma is a symbol of this struggle. Israel now has a choice in his sentencing to send a signal that it wants to crush nonviolent initiatives, or to find more creative and hopeful ways to move toward the future. Adeeb has served over a year, with constantly shifting charges, and should be released for time served, with an apology and hopes for a better future.


Adeeb’s daughter Raja:

We also ask your support for Adeeb’s daughter, Raja. Though from a simple family, Raja has won extremely high marks in the nationwide high-school exam scores, and she is now studying medicine at Bir Zeit University. Adeeb drives a taxi, and fees and other expenses would never have been easy for him, but his beloved daughter’s education has always been his priority. Since his imprisonment, friends of Adeeb have donated to allow Raja to continue her studies. She now needs $1500 for next semester’s fees, and we hope that supporters of Bil’in and of Adeeb can help her to realize her dreams and those of her father.

Please donate money to Raja by PayPal: