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Four Arrests in Bil'in; Further Arrests Resisted

Four More Arrests in Bil'in; Further Arrests Resisted by Villagers

Israeli soldiers invaded Bil'in last night for the fourth time in six days. A group of about 20 Border Police arrived in jeeps and arrested four non-violent Palestinian activists who they accused of damaging the fence, including an expectant father, two brothers and a 16 year old boy. Afterwards, a group of regular military came in mostly on foot. The soldiers said they had pictures of further Palestinians who they wanted to arrest, but a group of at least 30 villagers came out on the streets singing and chanting, in reaction to which the soldiers left. For the second night in three days, non-violent resistance was successfully used to oppose an Israeli military invasion of Bil'in.

The names of the new arrestees are:

Basem Ahmed Issa Yaseen, 28 (an expectant father, with two children) Khalid Shokat alKatib, 20 Baasil Shokat alKatib, 21 (brothers) Mohammend Abdel Fateh Burnat, 16

These four arrests are in addition to the previous arrests of eleven Palestinian non-violent activists, including a sixteen year old child and three brothers from one family. Only one of them, who had been arrested by the soldiers in order to pressure his brother to turn himself in, has been released so far.

On the 21st of October, in an act of non violent resistance villagers from Bil'in began to implement the decision of the International Court of Justice that Israel's illegal wall should be dismantled and removed metal posts meant to serve as foundation for the wall on Bil'in land. The Israeli military reacted to this act with arrests and distribution of a text in Arabic warning people not to take part in direct action against the wall. In the Arabic text the army claimed that "every Friday for the last six months, the IDF has allowed the people of the village to conduct non-violent protests against the construction of the wall on their lands", despite regularly firing on non-violent demonstrators with tear gas and rubber bullets. The text concluded with the threat that "the acts of the people violating the law will disturb your daily lives".

For the last ten months, Bil'in has launched an ongoing non-violent campaign against the annexation barrier supported by hundreds of Israeli and International activists, and met by violence from the Israeli army. Israel designed the current route of the barrier to annex 60% of Bil'in's agricultural land, and expand the settlement of Modi'in Elite. Plans for Modi'in Elite's expansion have yet to be approved by the Israeli government.

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