Last night the Israeli army carried out a night raid in the West Bank village of Bil’in and arrested a seventeen year old boy.
At least 12 Israeli army jeeps entered the village at approximately 1.30 in the morning. Soldiers from two of the jeeps then closed off the house of Ahmed Abdul Fatah Burnat, 17, who was arrested during the course of the 40 minute raid.
Palestinian villagers and internationals were unable to prevent what seems to have been a targeted arrest. Ahmed is understood to have been accused of participating in an illegal protest and throwing stones.
Israeli authorities’ attempts to criminalize protest have in recent years become more fervent. Peaceful protests have been declared illegal and Palestinian residents prosecuted for being present in their own homes if the army has declared that area a ‘closed military zone’.
Both targeted and arbitrary arrests occur commonly, again symptomatic of Israel’s attempts to deter protest. Popular committee leaders such as Abdallah Abu Rahma and Adeeb Abu Rahma from Bil’in have been convicted of ‘incitement’ by military courts and imprisoned – despite their commitment to nonviolent protest. Ahmed’s older brother Ibrahim has also been jail for the last 2 months.
The justness of the Bil’in protestors cause has been reflected in judgments by both the International Court of Justice and Israel’s own Supreme Court who in 2004 and 2007 respectively ruled that the entire Apartheid Wall and specifically the route of the wall through the village was illegal.