ABDULLAH ABU RAHME…..Stop the Raids
My West Bank village of Bil’in, a center of Palestinian nonviolent resistance for nearly five years, has been the target of two months of nightly raids by the Israeli military. The raids aim at ending our nonviolent demonstrations against the confiscation of our land for
On August 3rd at around 4 AM, I got a call from my friend Mohammed Khatib, one of the other members of Bil’in’s Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements. Mohammed said that Israeli soldiers had surrounded his home and were entering it. I jumped from bed and phoned some international volunteers who were staying in the village, and together we went to the village mosque.
200 Israeli soldiers had invaded our small village. Everywhere I turned they were in front of me. I continued speaking to Mohammed by phone, and he told me they were searching his home and asking many questions. The last time I called, I heard the soldiers ordering him to hang up the phone immediately. Ten minutes later I phoned Mohammed's family, and they told me he had been arrested.
Mohammed has since been accused of incitement to “disturb the security of the area” and throwing stones. He joins in prison another Bil’in leading Non-violent activist, Adeeb Abu Rahme, who has been held on the same charge of incitement since on July 10th. Another 16 other Bil’in residents also remain in prison.
Building on a long history of Palestinian nonviolent resistance, our village began peaceful protests in late 2004 against
We’ve also fought the seizure of our land in the courts. In response to our petition in 2007,
Mohammed was arrested because the Israeli government is afraid of our nonviolent resistance, and doesn't want it to spread to other regions of the
At a protest in July 15, 2005 we had tied ourselves inside a large prop that looked like a bridge crowned with a banner reading “peace needs bridges not walls.” The soldiers charged at us and arrested us. They claimed that I had attempted to assault soldiers - though my hands and feet were bound to our prop. I was imprisoned for saying "no" to the theft of my land. In prison, I felt the racism and injustice that are at the heart of the occupation. The judge eventually dismissed the assault charges because our video footage clearly showed we were beaten and arrested merely for protesting on a road in our own village. I was released on August 1, 2005 on the condition that I not participate in protests for months. I hope that Mohammed and the other prisoners from Bil’in will win their release as I eventually did.
. On Thursday the Israeli military prosecutor presented a photo they claimed was Mohammed throwing stones, and a testimony they got from one of village’s youth currently in their custody supporting by boys from the village supporting that accusation. But Mohammed’s lawyer produced his passport and proved that Mohammed was not even in the country on the day the photo was taken. Sunday the Military judge will rule whether or not Mohammad will be held until the end of his trial. .
In recent months, the Israeli government has also been escalating its repression of protests against land theft in villages like Ni’lin, Al Masara and other
In Bil’in, as in other Palestinian communities, there is no question that we will persist and remain on our land, despite injuries, deaths and arrests. But we tell the many people who ask where is the Palestinian Gandhi and why don’t Palestinians use nonviolence, to understand that there are many Palestinian Gandhis whom you have never heard about. Staying on our land despite Israeli efforts to push us off requires thousands of acts of nonviolent resistance daily. But to succeed and gain our freedom, Palestinians everywhere need your active support, as we have it in Bil’in, in order to overcome
Abdullah Abu Rahme is a teacher and the Coordinator of Bil'in's Popular Committee Against the Wall and settlements
For more information, please contact:
Abdullah Abu Rahama- the popular committee against the wall coordinator\ Bil’in
0547258210 أو 0599107069
e-mail – lumalayan@yahoo.
Israel declares the shooting of American activist, Tristan Anderson to be an “act of war”
Tristan Anderson, an American national, was critically injured on 13 March 2009 when he was shot with a high velocity tear-gas projectile during an unarmed demonstration against the Wall in the West Bank village of Ni’lin (report and video: http://palsolidarity.org/2009/03/5324).
The Israeli Ministry of Defense has notified the Anderson family’s lawyers that Israel perceives the incident on 13 March 2009 as an “act of war.” This classification was made despite the fact that Anderson’s shooting occurred during a civilian demonstration and there were no armed hostilities during the event or surrounding it.
The consequence of such classification is that according to Israeli law, the state of Israel is not liable for any damage its’ forces have caused.
Israeli police have completed their criminal investigation and passed the file to the district attorney of the Central District of the Israeli prosecution offices. The Anderson’s criminal attorney, Michael Sfard, is awaiting their decision.
According to Michael Sfard,
If a process by which unarmed civilian demonstration is classified by Israel as an ‘act of war,’ then clearly Israel admits that it is at war with civilians. International law identifies the incident as a clear case of human rights abuse. As such, Tristan and his family are undoubtedly entitled to justice and compensation. We will pursue this matter and take the government of Israel to court.
In addition to filing a criminal complaint against the State of Israel for the shooting of their son, the Andersons have submitted a notice of intent to file a civil suit.
Leah Tsemel, the civil suit attorney, stated,
This is another occasion where the Israeli government is alluding responsibility. The demonstrations that take place in Ni’lin and Bil’in are not acts of war. We will pursue, in Israeli courts and international courts if necessary, justice for the Anderson family.
Tristan Anderson was critically injured on 13 March 2009 when he was shot with a high-velocity tear gas projectile by Israeli forces. He was taken to Tel Hashomer hospital near Tel Aviv and to date remains in the hospital facilities. Tristan suffered multiple condensed fractures as a result of being hit in the right frontal lobe. He has had several life-saving surgeries and his prospects for recovery are unclear. On 10 August 2009, Tristan underwent another surgery to reattach the top part of his skull, which was removed in order to save his life immediately after his shooting five months ago.
Several eye-witnesses have given testimony that Tristan was shot when he could not have been perceived as any threat to the forces in the area. He was shot from around 60 meters while standing with a few internationals and Palestinians, hours after the demonstration had dispersed from the construction site of the Wall.
“We are horrified and overwhelmed,” said Nancy Anderson during a press conference on 23 March 2009. “We are scared and really still in shock. To shoot peaceful demonstrators is really horrifying to us. What we want to ask is that the Israeli government publicly take full responsibility for the shooting of our son.” (audio of press conference held by the Andersons: http://www.alternativenews.org/news-from-within:-palestine/israel-podcasts/1854-news-from-within-podcast-press-conference-of-the-parents-of-american-activist-tristan-anderson-who-was-critically-injured-by-israeli-military.html)
Israeli forces have been systematically shooting tear-gas projectiles directly at demonstrators during protests at the West Bank Wall.
After Anderson’s shooting, the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem requested the Judge Advocate General, Brig. Gen. Avichai Mandelblit, to immediately clarify to security forces that it is absolutely forbidden to directly aim tear-gas canisters, including extended-range type canisters, at demonstrators in the West Bank. B’Tselem also provided extensive video footage of demonstrations in Ni’lin, Bi’lin, and Jayyus showing repeated firing of tear-gas grenades directly at demonstrators, proving that, contrary to the army’s contentions, Israeli forces in the West Bank have commonly practiced this unlawful act. (report & video: http://www.btselem.org/English/Firearms/20090318_Firing_of_Tear_Gaz_at_Demonstrators.asp).
Following the killing of a Palestinian demonstrator in Bil’in, Basem Abu Rahme, by Israeli forces on 17 April 2009 with a high velocity tear gas projectile (report and video: http://palsolidarity.org/2009/04/6185), B’Tselem again demanded that the army enforce its Open-Fire Regulations and investigate the incidents (http://www.btselem.org/English/Firearms/20090422_Firing_Tear_Gaz_Canisters_directly_on_People.asp).
On 5 May 2009, Yehoshua Lemberger, deputy state attorney for criminal affairs of the Justice Ministry, asked the police to review the guidelines for dispersing protesters based on Rahme’s death and the police investigations of four additional incidents that occurred in Nil’in, including the shooting of Tristan Anderson (http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1239710864477&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull).
Mohammad Khatib released from Israeli prison
Monday, 17 August 2009: Mohammad Khatib, member of the Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements has been released on the condition that he report to a police station with a monitor every Friday until 5pm for the duration of his trial. He is available for interviews.
According to Mohammad, “The Israeli authorities are worried that the model of popular non-violent resistance is spreading. They are targeting the popular committees to try to crush it but they cannot destroy the spirit of the demonstrations in Bil’in with the arrests of individuals. The whole village is part of the non-violent resistance and the military would have to arrest the entire village to stop us from protesting against the Occupation and the theft of our land. Even then, when we all come out of jail, we would continue our struggle.”
Another leading Bil’in non-violent activist, Adeeb Abu Rahme, remains in detention since his arrest during a non-violent demonstration on July 10th (see report & video: http://palsolidarity.org/2009/07/7652). The latest wave of arrests and night raids on the West Bank village of Bil’in began on 23 June 2009. Both Adib Abu Rahme and Mohammad Khatib are being charged with “incitement to damage the security of the area.”
To date, Israeli forces have arrested 26 people (most under 18. The last arrest took place on 15.08.09; Nashmi Mohammad Ibrahim Abu Rahma (age 15) was arrested near the Apartheid Wall in Bil’in village. This brings the total of arrested to 19.
Through Israel’s interrogation and intimidation tactics, some of 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. In Mohammad Khatib’s case this tactic failed when Khatib’s attorney, Gabi Laski, proved that a picture the prosecution claimed was of Mohammad throwing stones during a demonstration was taken when Mohammad was out of the country. The photograph was accompanied by a “confession” from one of the Bil’in youth that is currently in the military’s custody, claiming that the person in the picture was Mohammad Khatib.
The Palestinian village of Bil’in has become an international symbol of the Palestinian popular struggle. For almost 5 years, its residents have been continuously struggling against the de facto annexation of more than 50% of their farmlands via the construction of the Apartheid Wall.