Bil'in demo 20-11-2009

For the national leadership to keep fighting for the national principles. In a reaction to recent announcements from the Israeli government regarding plans to continue with the construction of 900 new housing units in the settlement of Gilo, they protested against the expansion of illegal settlements in East Jerusalem and the threat this expansion poses for the future Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. The demonstrators marched to the Wall built on Bil’in’s land, where the Israeli army, based on the other side of the fence, responded to their presence by throwing tear gas bombs and shooting tear gas canisters. Dozens suffered from the effects of tear gas inhalation.
In addition, residents of Bil’in were calling today for the end of the ongoing arrest campaign, which escalated the day before, when a group of undercover Israeli soldiers invaded the village and arrested a local youth, Mohammad Yassin (20), who was targeted for his participation in the weekly demonstrations. They entered the village in a civilian Isuzu pick-up, dressed like Palestinians, and went directly to the workshop where Mohammad works. Before he was arrested, he was beaten by the soldiers, as were his brother and mother. In addition to Yassin, another 27 Bil’in residents were arrested for their involvement in the demonstrations since the 23 June 2009. Among them is Adeeb Abu Rahma, who has been held in detention for more than four months under a charge of ‘incitement’ – organizing demonstrations.

2-Undercovers arrest Palestinian youth at his place of work.

In an escalation of the recent arrest campaign conducted by the Israeli military in attempt to crush the popular struggle against the Wall in the village, an undercover army unit invaded Bil'in this morning and arrested a local youth, 19 year old Mohammad Yassin.
In the morning hours of Thursday, 19 November 2009, a civilian Isuzu pickup with undercover soldiers dressed as Palestinians, drove into the village of Bil'in, searching for residents suspected of organizing and participating in the village's weekly demonstrations. At around 9am, the soldiers arrived at the garage where Yassin works and arrested him. The arrest involved the beating of Yassin himself, as well as of his brother and his mother, who assumed that the disguised soldiers were just random by-passers attacking their kin.

The use of the undercover army units to capture 'wanted' people that are suspected of nothing else than participating in and planning of grassroots demonstrations, represent an escalation of the arrest campaign the Army is conducting against the residents of the village. In addition to Yassin, another 27 Bil'in residents were arrested for their involvement in the demonstrations since the 23 June 2009. Among them, is also Adeeb Abu Rahma, who has been held in detention for more than four months under a charge of 'incitement' – a euphemism for organizing demonstrations.

Recently, Adv. Gaby Lasky, who represents Bil'in's detainees, was informed by the military prosecution that the army intends to put an end to the demonstrations through use legal procedures against demonstrators. Adv. Lasky, stated today that "This is a blatant example of political persecution using legal means, because the charges and the arrests are being carried out not for legal purposes but with political motivations. It is important to remember that it is the state that is in contempt of a High Court of Justice ruling, which affirmed that it were demonstrators who had justice on their side, and instructed to move the route of the Wall in the area two years ago - something that has not been done yet."

Thank you for you continued support,

Iyad Burnat- Head of Popular Commitee in Bilin
co-founder of Friends of Freedom and Justice - Bilin