|Wounding dozens in Bilin weekly Protest|
Friday, October 15, 2010, Bil’in, Palestine -Today’s demonstration against the wall, organized by the Popular Committee of Bil’in, was joined by about 100 local residents , Israeli activists and internationals. As the group moved peacefull y towards the site of the wall, they chanted to free Palestinian political prisoners, including Abdulah Abu Rahme and Adib Abu Rahman who were arrested last year for their leadership of the poplar resistance in Bil’in. Abdullah’s two young daughters marched with the crowd, carrying posters calling for the release of their father. Demonstrators carrying the Palestinian flag crossed through the gate to confront the awaiting soldiers with the simple question, “What are you doing here?” Among the internationals were groups from University of Oslo in Norway, from Germany, Japan and the United States and from Germany, france . When the soldiers tired of the presence of people demanding access to the agricultural lands belonging to Bil’in farmers, they began firing tear gas. The hot gas canister ignited fires in the dry olive orchards, which residents hurried to extinguish to protect the trees from damage. For a while it was possible to avoid the gas, but eventually it became too much, and the demonstrators had to retreat to the village. It is a victory for the people every time they mobilize, without guns, to demand justice – an end to a wall that separates them from their ancestral lands and from the possibility of living peacefully with Israel.
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|Friends of Freedom and Justice Bilin|
Bil’in Village, past, present and Future:
Bil’in, a small, peaceful village surrounded by hills and valleys, is a Palestinian village that is struggling to exist. It is fighting to safeguard its land, its olive trees, its resources… its liberty. Lying halfway between Yaffa and Jerusalem, Bil’in is among a number of local villages that fall under the governorate of the nearby city of Ramallah. It has a population of 1800 in an area approximately 4000 dunums in size.
The people of Bil’in are known for their simplicity, hospitality and good nature. They love peace and freedom, and struggle on a daily basis to reject injustice and oppression.
The residents of Bil’in depend on agriculture as their main source of their income. Traditionally such income has been generated by raising cattle and poultry, and collecting the produce of bees and olive trees. Close to 60% of Bil’in’s land, and some of its best farming land, has been annexed for Israeli Settlements and the construction of Israel’s Apartheid Wall- the state of Israel is strangling the village. Every day it destroys a bit more, creating in an open air prison for Bil’in’s inhabitants.
Bil’in and its residents have stood up to the confiscation of their land time and time again. At the beginning of the 1980s, the Matityahu settlement was built on a portion of Bil’in land and, at the beginning of the 1990s, another portion of land was confiscated for the Kiryat Sefer settlement. At the start of the millennium, yet another new settlement (Matityahu East) was built on Bil’in’s land. In April 2004, Israel began construction of its illegal Apartheid Wall on the western side of the village, expropriating about 2300 dunums of the land of Bil’in.
Bil’in residents have continued to withstand these injustices despite the increase in the number of night raids the Israeli Soldiers inflict upon their town, the increasing number of arrests of its inhabitants and of activists. But now, the army has toughened the oppression by systematically arresting members of the Bil’in Committee in charge of organizing the non-violent demonstrations in an attempt to discourage residents from participating and to reduce their resistance to the occupation.
Supported by Israeli and international activists, Bil’in residents peacefully demonstrate every Friday in front of the “work-site of shame”. And every Friday the Israeli army responds with both physical and psychological violence. Working side-by-side with international and Israeli Activists, the people of Bil’in have managed to achieve the recognition of the Israel High Court, which recently ruled that the route of the Apartheid Wall near in the village is illegal and must be changed.
In line with their love of freedom and justice, an active group of young men and women decided to initiate a new society in the village called “The Bil’in Friends of Freedom and Justice”. The society aims to build a wide network of people from all over the globe who support Freedom and Justice for all. It aims to strengthen the steadfastness of the Palestinian People, to make spread the community’s methods of non-violent resistance and to help and support the education of Palestinian youth at schools and universities.
Together we can remove borders and cross all barriers.
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Please visit out Contact Us page.
|“We stay here like the roots of the olive trees”|
October 9th 2010-10-08 On the first Friday demonstration of the olive harvest, two journalists were injured and dozens suffered from tear gas and rubber bullets in Bil’in. The Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements organized the weekly demonstration against the illegal apartheid wall on the first Friday of the olive harvest. Many international solidarity groups, Israeli peace activists and Palestinians from other towns participated. The demonstration began after midday prayer and lasted two hours. Demonstrators held the Palestinian flag as well as posters for the release of Bil’in political prisoners. Some of the demonstrators held a banner with the phrase “We stay here like the roots of the olive trees.” On the way to the gate the demonstrators chanted slogans against the wall and the settlements in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, and against the Israeli house demolitions in Hebron today, which killed two people while still inside their homes. When the demonstrators reached the gate, they were unable to enter their land to collect their olives. The military shot rubber bullets and tear gas. The soldiers subsequently entered the gate to try to arrest the demonstrators but they were unsuccessful as a result of other demonstrators’ intervention. Two journalists were injured. Abas Al Momani was injured in the back by a tear gas canister. Haron Amaira suffered from extreme tear gas inhalation. Dozens of other demonstrators suffered from breathing tear gas poison.