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Palestinian Gandhi Re-arrested

Palestinian Gandhi Re-arrested

The Palestinian Gandhi, Abdallah Abu Rahme, and Akram Al Khatib, two members of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Bil'in were arrested Friday, July 15, 2005 and are still being held at Ofer Military Base. The two were arrested during a non-violent demonstration against the Annexation Barrier in Bil'in. Lawyer Tamar Peleg, who is representing them, has filed a request with the court and the prosecutors for their immediate release. Peleg states that their arrest is the result of the IDF efforts to stop legitimate, legal, non-violent political activities. Members of the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements and their families have regularly been subjected to nightly threats, harassment, arrest, and false charges in the past.

The central theme of the demonstration was that peace requires bridges, not walls, and that the Annexation Wall must come down in order to build a better future and construct a bridge of peace. Seven people, including Abdallah Abu Rahme, were in the front row, marching inside a bridge made from the same materials that the Annexation Wall is being built with. Abdallah was violently pulled out of the mock bridge beaten and arrested. Akram was arrested while raising his arms to show that he was unarmed and nonviolent. Video footage that proves the above is available and has been submitted to the police.

When the marchers reached the road where the Apartheid Wall is being erected, they were met with soldiers in full-riot gear informing them that they had entered a Closed Military Zone. The non-violent demonstrators were met with violence; some were beaten and some were detained, including three Israelis, two Palestinians, and one international. All except for two were released without conditions; those two signed forms stating they would not return to Bil'in for fifteen days. Abdallah and Akram were the only two who continue to be detained.

Abdallah, aged 34, has worked with the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI), He has undergone their trainings in dialog and peace-education and implements this knowledge in his work with the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall, which he undertakes in addition to his work as a teacher of Arabic in a high school in Ramallah.

Last month when Abdallah was arrested, Military Judge Captain Daniel Zamir, after viewing video footage of the Bil'in demonstration that conflicted with the IDF soldier reports of the events stated: "There was no reason for the defendant's arrest; there was no reason for the shooting that wounded him or the blows he received from the soldier," adding that the reality was "strangely different, to put it mildly, from the testimony of the prosecution witnesses."

Links to photographs from the demonstration: Abdallah in the bridge installation, 4th from the left:

Image of the confrontation with the IDF:

Image of Akram's arrest:

Image of Abdallah's arrest:

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