Support Bilins struggle
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, during a visit to Bilin on 27 August 2009
Just as a simple man named Gandhi led the successful non-violent
struggle in India and simple people such as Rosa Parks and Nelson
Mandela led the struggle for civil rights in the United States, simple
people here in Bilin are leading a non-violent struggle that will
bring them their freedom. The South Africa experience proves that
injustice can be dismantled.
Adeeb Abu Rahmah, a leading activist and organizer from the West Bank
village of Bilin has been held in detention since his arrest during a
demonstration on 10 July 2009. Thousands of Israeli and international solidarity activists who have demonstrated alongside Adeeb against the theft of Bilins lands over the past five years can testify to his unshakable
commitment to non-violence and dignified action.
Adeeb who has been detained for over three months, is not suspected of
committing any violence, but was indicted with a blanket charge of
incitement to violence. A judge had initially ruled that Adeeb be
released with restrictive conditions, but an appeal filed by the
military prosecution had the decision overturned, and he was remanded
until the end of legal proceedings. Trials for Palestinians in Israeli
military courts often last over a year. Adeeb is the sole provider for
his 9 children, wife and mother.
Adeebs arrest is part of the Israeli militarys most recent attempt
to crush Bilin villages ongoing popular non-violent resistance
campaign. A wave of night raids and arrests targeting protesters and
the leadership of Bilins Popular Committee began concurrently with
preliminary hearings in a lawsuit against two Canadian companies
responsible for the construction of an Israeli settlement on Bilins
On 23 June 2009, the Canadian court heard the preliminary arguments
for a suit brought by Bilin against two companies registered in
Canada (Green Park International & Green Mount International). The
village is seeking justice against the construction of settlements on
its lands under the 2000 Canadian Crimes Against Humanity and War
Israeli forces have arrested 27 residents, 11 of which are under 18.
Sixteen Biliners remain in Israeli detention, nine of which are
minors. Some of the arrestees have reported being questioned about
Biins lawsuit in Canada during their interrogation.
Overwhelming support and outcry from the international community have
contributed to what appears to be the end of the night raids (the last
raid took place on 30 September 2009). While soldiers have stopped
coming to arrest demonstrators in the night, the aftermath of the
raids has left Bil'in with large legal fees/bails and 16 remaining
residents in Israeli detention. In defiance of the pressure from
Israeli authorities, the village continues to hold weekly
demonstrations. Bil'iners protested in solidarity with Adeeb Abu Rahme
continue their struggle, they need your support.
What can you do?
Attempts to criminalize the leadership of non-violent protests were
curbed in the past with the help of an outpouring of support from
people committed to justice all over the world.
1. Please protest by contacting your political representatives, as
well as your consuls and ambassadors to Israel to demand that Israel
stops targeting non-violent popular resistance and release Adeeb Abu
Rahmah and all Bilin prisoners.
2. The Popular Committee of Bilin is in need of funds in order to pay
legal fees both for the trial in Montréal and for representing the
arrested protesters in the military courts. Please donate to the
Bilin legal fund through PayPal.
Bilin Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements
The West Bank village of Bilin is located 12 kilometers west of
Ramallah and 4 km east of the Green Line. It is an agricultural
village, around 4,085 dunams (988 acres) in size, and populated by
approximately 1,780 residents.
Approximately 55% of Bilins agricultural land has been declared
State Land by Israel and confiscated for the construction of the
settlement bloc, Modi'in Illit. Modi'in Illit holds the largest
settler population of any settlement bloc, with over 42,000 residents
and plans to achieve a population of 150,000.
Prior to 1948, Bilin spanned 4,085 dunams. Starting in 1982 and again
in 1991, around 1,980 dunams were taken. Another 260 dunams were taken
for construction of the Wall in 2005.
In 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled that the Wall was
contrary to international law, particularly International Humanitarian
Law. The Court went on to rule that Israel's settlements are illegal
under the same laws, noting that the Wall's route is intimately
connected to the settlements adjacent to the Green Line, further
annexing 12% of the West Bank to Israel.
Despite the advisory opinion, early in 2005, Israel began constructing
the separation Wall on Bil'in's land, cutting the village in half in
order to place Modi'in Illit and its future growth on the "Israeli
side" of the Wall.
In March 2005, Bilin residents began to organize almost daily direct
actions and demonstrations against the theft of their lands. Gaining
the attention of the international community with their creativity and
perseverance, Bilin has become a symbol for popular resistance.
Almost five years later, Bilin continues to have weekly Friday
Bilin has held annual conferences on popular resistance since 2006,
providing a forum for activists, intellectuals, and leaders to discuss
strategies for the non-violent struggle against the Occupation.
Israeli forces have used sound and shock grenades, water cannons,
rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas grenades, tear gas canisters and
0.22 caliber live ammunition against protesters.
On 17 April 2009, Bassem Abu Rahma was shot with a high-velocity tear
gas projectile in the chest by Israeli forces and subsequently died
from his wounds at a Ramallah hospital.
Out of the 75 residents who were arrested in connection to
demonstrations against the Wall, 27 have been were arrested after the
beginning of a night raid campaign on 23 June 2009.
In addition to its grassroots movement, Bil'in turned to the courts in
the fall of 2005. In September 2007, 2 years after they initiated
legal proceedings, the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled that due to
illegal construction in part of Modi'in Illit, unfinished housing
could not be completed and that the route of the Wall be moved several
hundred meters west, returning 25% of Bilins lands to the village.
To date, the high court ruling has not been implemented and settlement
Thank you for you continued support,
Iyad Burnat- Head of Popular Commitee in Bilin
co-founder of Friends of Freedom and Justice - Bilin