Bil'in village will hold a mass demonstration against the ongoing Israeli arrest and intimidation campaign on Friday, 14 August 2009 at one PM. Bil'in residents along with Israeli and international supporters will attempt to march to the village land beyond the Apartheid barrier.
At 2 AM on the 10 August 2009, Israeli forces raided the home of jailed member of the Bil'in popular committee, Mohammad Khatib. The heavily armed solders, their faces daubed with black paint, entered and "searched" the home now occupied by Mohammad's wife, Lamya, and their small children. The soldiers then ordered Lamya to take them to the house of Khatib's elderly father, Abdel Karim. Lamya repeatedly refused to cooperate. The soldiers proceeded to raid Mohammad's father's home and summoned him to appear for interrogation with the Israeli secret service (Shabak). While Abdel Karim was being interrogated by the Shabk the next day, an officer called his wife in front of him and threatened her with the arrest of her entire family.
The latest wave of arrests and Israeli night raids on the West Bank village of Bil'in began on 23 June 2009, To date, Israeli forces have arrested 25 people (most are under 18). Eighteen of the 25 remain in detention. Through Israel's interrogation and intimidation tactics, two of the arrested youth have 'confessed' that the Bil'in Popular Committee urges the demonstrators to throw stones. With such 'confessions' , Israeli forces then proceed to arrest leaders in the community, including Adeeb Abu Rahme and Mohammad Khatib.
Abdullah Abu Rahme, coordinator of the Bil'in popular committee, states that "While the Bil'in committee does encourage residents, Israeli and international supporters to take part in demonstrations, we call for non-violent participation. The occupation forces in addition to using excessive and sometimes lethal violence against us have planted undercover agents to throw stones from the demonstrations on several occasions. Mohammad Khatib and Adeeb Abu Rahme, along with other leaders of the Palestinian popular struggle, are being targeted because they mobilize Palestinians to resist non- violently. Israel is stealing our land from us and then prosecuting us as criminals because we struggle non-violently for justice."
Mohammad Khatib will be taken in front of a military court this Thursday,13th August when the military prosecution will ask to prolong his detention for the duration of his trial. A similar request to hold popular leader Adeeb abu Rahme was granted by a military judge on July 21st. Adib has been in detention since his arrest during a non violent demonstration on July 10th. Both leaders are being charged with "incitement to damage the security of the area."
Lamya Khatib, whose husband and younger brother, Abdullah, are both currently imprisoned at Ofer military base, states: " It is obvious that the Israeli authorities will do all that they can to prevent Palestinians and Israelis from working together towards a just peace. but I know that Mohammed, Abdullah and I, and everyone in Bil'in, will continue our struggle for justice."
Your presence and support are needed in Bil'in on Friday, 14 August 2009 at one PM! Join us in sending the message that the Nonivolent resistance campaign will continue untill we reclaim our rights!
For more information:
Abdullah Abu Rahme Bil'in Popular Committee 0599107069
ISM media office 0549032981
Visit with Mohammed Khatib in Ofer Prison
Dear comrades and friends,
I just returned from a visit with our dear friend Mohammed Khatib in Ofer Prison. He asked that I send you all this message in thanks, friendship and solidarity.
It was a slow morning at Ofer Prison, so we were "lucky" enough to have an hour together to talk (over the phone and through the glass window pane, mind you). The first thing I needed to know was how he was feeling — after rumors of swine flu in Ofer Prison, I had his wife and friends on my case to make sure that above all he is not sick. Mohammed reassured me that he is fine, although he is concerned that the flu symptoms going around the prison are not just regular flu and that the sick patients are not being quarantined from the others, nor are they being treated with proper medicines (just Acamol!). He also mentioned that there is a shortage of plates/cups/silverware, and so detainees have to share (which means they are subject to illness, whether it’s the swine flu or any other). In the meantime he is managing with plastic cups.
We talked a lot about how he sees his time in detention, which he accepts may be a bit longer than the last week and a half. For him it’s just another part of the struggle — another test of a struggle that won’t die, and another chapter in his life of experiences (and literally another chapter in the book he’s writing)! After years of friendship, and our tour in Canada, he succeeds in amazing me more than ever.
There isn’t much for him to read in the prison, but recently he found a copy of Haaretz English that included a photo of the Bil’in Friday demo the first week in July in which demonstrators had raised at the wall the purple confederation flag they’d been given recently during our visit to the Mowhawk nation on the Akwasasne reservation at the Canadian-American border, in exchange for their Palestinian flag (which was raised there). Even though the photo was from a time before his arrest, it made him happy and rejuvenated him — and gave him a chance to practice his English reading, which he sees as a good opportunity.
I told him about all the things happening on the ground, thanks to his family, the village, and activists like Neta Golan — OpEds, international networks, support funds, letters, political pressure. He was pleased that the Bil’in Conference plan to create an international network was finally getting off the ground, even if not under the best circumstances. I told him about our very successful visit by 3 Canadian Parliament members to the village on Sunday, who expressed their solidarity with him, as a fellow elected official, and were appalled by this political arrest. I told him a bit of world news, I read him a beautiful letter from Michael Sfard, and I sent him "dash" from dozens of people from Israel to Canada. He sends it back to you 10 times over.
All in all, he said over and over again, that he is fine and not to worry. That he is not suffering or bored. That he fills his mind with thoughts about Bil’in and the struggle and sees his time there as a sort of "vacation" to collect ideas and inspiration. He is writing more pages of his book in his head. And he is sleeping and eating fine. His only real complaint is that they don’t allow him his nargila to smoke (but is glad he doesn’t smoke cigarettes)! He feels confident that things will work out because he has done nothing wrong and has nothing to hide. He said he was lucky until now not to be arrested and that it was only a matter of time. But that it won’t deter him. He hopes it won’t deter us. AND HE HOPES THAT PEOPLE WILL COME TO HIS HEARING ON THURSDAY, AND THAT FRIDAY’S DEMONSTRATION WILL BE BIG.
I tell him at the end to hang in there. He tells me the same. It’s a joint struggle, afterall.