Israel’s War Against Palestine: Documenting the Military Occupation of Palestinian and Arab Lands

Bil’in

Abdallah Abu Rahmah was given a hero’s welcome in the West Bank village of Bil’in after being released from Ofer Prison on Monday. He was greeted by over a hundred and fifty townsfolk who escorted him home waving flags and letting off fireworks in his honor.

“We have no problem will the people of Israel. We have a problem with the army and the occupation… We know that our land will be returned to us even if someone is killed every day. We say this to Netanyahu: The demonstrations here will not end until we get our land back. We believe in a popular struggle, a non-violent struggle. We don’t want a violent struggle.”

Jawaher Abu Rahmah, 36, was evacuated to the Ramallah hospital yesterday after inhaling massive amounts of tear-gas during the weekly protest in Bil’in, and died of poisoning this morning. Abu Rahmah was the sister of Bassem Abu Rahmah who was also killed during a peaceful protest in Bil’in on April 17th, 2010.

A resident of the West Bank village of Bil’in died on Saturday morning in a Ramallah hospital after she was exposed to tear gas that was shot by IDF soldiers to disperse the crowd of demonstrators against the separation wall in the village on Friday.

Non-violent protest organizer Abdallah Abu Rhamah from Bil’in was convicted of incitement and organizing illegal demonstrations today, after an eight months long military trial, during which he was kept behind bars. He was acquitted of a stone-throwing charge and a vindictive arms-possession charge.

Israeli forces arrested the chairwoman of the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla at Friday’s demonstration in Bil’in, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, supporters said. Huwaida Arraf, a Palestinian-American from Michigan, is a human rights activist who was on board the aid flotilla that came under attack Monday, in a raid that left nine dead.

Although photojournalist Imad Bornat from Bil’in was acquitted over a year ago on charges of assaulting an officer, police still regard his case as “open” and continue to bar him from entering Israel.

Haaretz: A duty to protest

22 February 2010

Bil’in has become a symbol of a civic struggle devoid of terrorism. Such persistent, ongoing protest action is remarkable. It has even prompted the Supreme Court to rule that the route of the fence should be moved, and that some 170 acres of land be returned to the villagers. Astonishingly, this ruling has yet to be implemented by the state, which is thus displaying brazen contempt of court.

Demonstrators participating in rally protesting the Israel’s West Bank separation fence dismantled a section of the barrier on Friday, during a rally marking five years since the beginning of the Bil’in protests. About a thousand people took part in the rally, which was also attended by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Palestinian parliament member Mustafa Barghouti as well as Fatah strongman Nabil Shaath.

“There is a large variety of international activists here,” he says. “There are those who spend weeks and months in the village and take the political issue seriously, and there are others who, as part of their trip to Israel and Palestine, drop in at Bil’in to see what’s happening. Some of them have a strong political awareness, others come to take pictures.

In the early hours of the morning, dozens of soldiers invaded the village of alMaasara – a site of weekly peaceful demonstrations for over three years – and surrounded the houses of Popular Committee members Mohammed Barjiya and Mahmoud Zwahre. Both Barjiya and Zwahre were warned about that repercussions will follow if they do not stop organizing protests in the village. Zwahre was even threatened that a child may end up dead.

I mark the beginning of the new decade imprisoned in a military detention camp. Nevertheless, from within the occupation′s holding cell I meet the New Year with determination and hope… The price I and many others pay in freedom does not deter us. I wish that my two young daughters and baby son would not have to pay this price together with me. But for my son and daughters, for their future, we must continue our struggle for freedom.

My husband is a school teacher and farmer from the Palestinian village of Bilin. When Israel built its apartheid wall here, it separated Bilin from more than half of its land, in order to facilitate the expansion of the illegal settlement Mattityahu East. In response, Abdallah and fellow villagers began a campaign of nonviolent resistance. Every Friday for the past five years, we’ve marched, with Israeli and international supporters, to protest the theft of our land and livelihoods.

Haaretz: War on protest

27 December 2009

The war the police and the Israel Defense Forces are openly waging against protests by left-wing and human rights activists has heated up in recent weeks. As a result, concern is growing over Israel’s image as a free and democratic country.

[Attorney Gaby Lasky]: “The Bil’in demonstrators are being systemically targeted while it is the State [of Israel] that is in contempt of a High Court of Justice ruling; a ruling which affirmed that the protesters have justice on their side and instructed 2 years ago that the route of the Wall in the area be changed, which has not been implemented to date.”

The Israeli army has targeted [Mohammed Khatib]. He was arrested, severely beaten and threatened with death during a series of midnight raids on the village this summer. He was freed on condition that he report to an Israeli police station each Friday at the hour of the weekly protest… Relative calm prevails in the Palestinian territories, but Khatib says it cannot last long under the diplomatic impasse… He believes Israel is trying to crush nonviolent activists because it would rather take on an armed insurgency.

IOA Editor: Israel’s favorite Palestinian Occupation-resister is one ‘throwing a bomb’ – and the more violent, the better. It is much more difficult to defend shooting non-violent Bilin demonstrators, though, Israel manages to get away with murdering demonstrators just fine.

[Bil’in] residents say the IDF conducts nighttime raids up to four times a week, sometimes using percussion grenades and tear gas and sometimes also entering homes, which has led to Israeli activists staying overnight in village homes.