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Palestine: Another arrest in Bil’in

Another arrest in Bil’in

Last night at 01:30 in the morning a military force of around fifty Israeli soldiers invaded the village of Bil'in.

The army entered the house of Hazem Shukat Khatib (26) and arrested him. His three brothers Wajdi, Khaled, and Basel were all already arrested in the recent wave of nighttime incursions into Bil'in, and remain incarcerated. Ashraf Ibrahim Abu Rahme "the bear" (22) a well known and much loved anti-wall activist from Bil'in was also arrested at his home.

In addition, the Israeli military entered and searched a further four homes in the village. The harassment of the head of the village council Ahmed Issa Yasin and his family continued when they were again woken from their sleep, by soldiers banging on their door. These soldiers were fully aware that Ahmed Issa Yasin's sons Basem and Abdullah were not at home, for they were all recently arrested (along with 14 other Bil'in villagers) in similar circumstances and remain in detention.

Mohammed Ali Burnat and his five small children were also woken and compelled to endure soldiers forcing their way into their home and searching it in the middle of the night.

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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