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Help Release Bil'in Children Abducted by IDF

Help Release Bil'in Children Abducted by Israeli Military


Due to the Israeli military's ongoing attempts to crush the nonviolent resistance in Bil'in, the ISM Legal Fund has been exhausted. We need your help to get Bil'in's children out of Israeli prisons.

All that these youth are guilty of is daring to resist Israel's illegal barrier, which will turn their village into a ghetto in order to protect the expansion of the Modi'in settlement. Yet, the best outcome that we can expect from the Israeli military courts is their release on bail. The trial of all but two of those arrested will take place in just two days, on Thursday, November 10. At present, the ISM will be unable to provide the funds needed for their release.

Fourteen-year-old Abdullah Yassin was dragged out of his bed by Israeli soldiers the night of November 1st and taken to the Ofer military detention centre. He's still there. His parents were forced to watch helplessly as their youngest child was taken away by soldiers. It was an experience they've suffered through before. Another of their sons - Basem Ahmed Yassin, 28 years old and a father of two small children with a third on the way - was taken in a similar raid three nights before.

"They leave us with nothing," said Yussra Yassin, mother to Abdullah and Basem. "They even take our children." She talked about how she had saved for months to go to Ramallah to buy Abdullah new clothes for Eid Al Fitr the Muslim holiday which took place the next day.

This is not the first blow that the Yassin family has suffered. After the young mens' father, Ahmed Issa Yassin, had his work permit cancelled at the start of the second Intifada - along with tens of thousands of other Palestinian workers he hasn't worked since- the family became dependent on their olive trees for income. But with Israel's illegal annexation barrier under construction in Bil'in, that olive grove will be destroyed, taking with it the family's only remaining source of livelihood.

On the 21st of October, in an act of nonviolent 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", this despite the fact that Israeli military regularly fires 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".

Since then, the military began a series of night time arrest raids. The Yassin family has not been alone. In all, 17 young men - some of them just boys - have been taken by the Israeli military since the October 21 action. Though they were originally accused of damaging the wall, they are now being accused of throwing stones at Israeli soldiers.

They include:

Abdullah Ahmed Yassin, 14 Nour Mahmoud Yassin, 19 Nayes Gazzi Al Katib, 18 Basem Ahmed Issa Yassin, 28 Khalid Shokat Al Katib, 20 Baasil Shokat Al Katib, 21 Mohammend Abdel Fateh Burnat, 16 Hamza Samara, 22 Asrar Samara, 23 Wajdi Al Khatib, 16 Farj Awad Yassin, 18 Hasan Awad Yassin, 26 Fadil Awad Yassin, 23 Abdullah Abid Halim Abu Rahme, 28 Mohammed Abu Rahme, 21 Jawad Al Khatib, 20 Mohammed Omran Khatib, 23

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP

A) Donate towards the release of Bil'in's youth!

Please make donations to ISM's Legal Fund to help us secure the release of those imprisoned. Donations can be made on the ISM website through PayPal (www.palsolidarity.org/main/donations/), or by mailing checks to:

ISM - USA PO BOX 5073 BERKELEY CA 94705-0073 USA

Please make checks out to: "MECA (ISM-USA Fund)".

The Middle East Children's Alliance is the fiscal sponsor for ISM-USA. They are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Their tax exemption number is: 94-3074600.

If your organization is able to pledge money, please write to info@palsolidarity.org. We thank Israeli lawyer Tamar Peleg of Hamoked, and the Palestinian Prisoner support organization Adameer, who have generously donated their services and represented activists from Bil'in pro-bono.

B) Send a letter!

Lend your voice to those who would be silenced. Call for the release of the Bil'in sons being held by the Israeli military for allegations of nonviolent direct action. Please send a letter using the following sample or (even better) in your own words on behalf of those taken from Bil'in.

SAMPLE LETTER: I strongly protest the series of late night raids and arrests carried out by the Israeli military on the West Bank village of Bil'in. I am appalled that, because it has difficulty dealing with nonviolent protests, the Israeli military has turned to abducting young Palestinians from their beds and then keeping them imprisoned.

These youth are being held for their opposition to the illegal barrier, which is being built to protect the expansion of the Modi'in settlement at the intolerable expense of the lands and livelihoods of the people of Bil'in. Those arrested reacted to the theft of their property and livelihood by protesting in a nonviolent way. The response of the Israeli military is entirely unacceptable. It is indicative of the fact that Israel counters even peaceful resistance by violent means.

While I strongly oppose all of the arrests that were made and demand the release of those imprisoned, I specifically demand the immediate release of the 14-year old Abdullah Yassin, who was arrested in the middle of night after soldiers broke into his parents' home on November 1, 2005. Traumatizing a sleeping child and keeping him in a detention camp is an inhuman act that has no place in a country that claims to be a democracy.

Sincerely,

Send your letters to:

1. American Consulate, Jerusalem, jerusalemacs@state.gov, Fax: +972-(0)2- 627-7230

2. European Union, Jerusalem, Email mailto@delwbg.cec.eu.int, Fax: +972- (0)2-532 6249

3. UN Special Coordinator, Gaza, Email unsco@palnet.com, Fax: +972-(0)8- 282-0966 or S/SMEC, Office of the Special Middle East Coordinator fax: (+1) 202 647 4808

4. White House Comment Line: 202-456-1111

5. State Department Bureau of Public Affairs Comment Line: 202-647-6575

6. Minister of Justice Tzippi Livni Ministry of Justice 29 Salah al-Din Street Jerusalem 91010, Israel Phone: +972-2-6708511 Fax: +972 2 6285438/6288618 E-mail: sar@justice.gov.il (may bounce), mancal@justice.gov.il, pniot@justice.gov.il

7. Brigadier-General Avichai Mendelblit - head of the army's legal branch fax: +972 (0)3-5694370

8. Colonel Yair Lutstein - legal adviser for Judea & Samaria command fax: +972 (0)2-2277326

and please send a copy to: info@gush-shalom.org

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