by Bil’in Popular Committee
The Palestinian Prime Minister, Mr. Salam Fayad, visited the village of Bil’in today joining the Friday prayer in the village. This visit comes in solidarity with the residents in their 4th anniversary marking the popular struggle against the wall. Mr. Fayad expressed his support to the village and the residents who carried a struggle in the past four years against the wall. He also supports the village to continue until the end of the occupation.
The residents of Bil’in gathered today after the Friday prayer to mark the 4th anniversary of the struggle against building the wall and settlements. Party members and supporters of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) also celebrated its 40th anniversary. Representatives from many of the national parties also joined the protest, members of Fatah party and the Palestinian Initiative, the National Palestinian Struggle, members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC): Moheeb Awad, Walid Assaf, Qayis Abu Layla, and Mostafa Al Barqiti, and a member of the Israeli Knesset, Mohammed Bakri and Afo Ighbariya from Hadash party. International and Israeli peace activists joined the protest in solidarity. Also, member of the Popular Committee against the wall in Ni’lin joined the protest.
Demonstrators waved Palestinian flags and carried banners condemning violence against civilians and the building of the wall and settlement, especially in Jerusalem and the Jordan valley. The protest also called for national unity and defense of the Palestinian national rights.
The protest left from the center of the village and headed towards the Apartheid Wall, which is built on Bil’in’s land. An Israeli army unit was situated behind the wall and prevented the crowd from going through the gate by firing tear gas canisters, causing dozens to suffer gas inhalation. five were injured. Mohammed Adeeb Abu Rahmah, Mohammed Nabil Abu Rahmah, Abed Al qader Abu Rahmeh, Isamail Abu Rahmah, and Omer Al Tamimi.
The Popular Committee appreciated the efforts of the protesters and the solidarity groups, especially the medic crews from the Red Crescent and the Medical Relief Committee in their great help with injuries today and throughout the past four years.
The Israeli army invaded the village twice yesterday. First in the after noon, they reached the center of the village and set up a checkpoint stopping people from passing through. Some youth from the village responded by throwing stones. The army left returned later at night and fired teargas and sound bombs inside the village in an attempt to terrify the residents and spread fear. The army has been continuously raiding the village, mostly at night, for the last few days in order to break the people’s spirit in continuing their struggle against the wall and settlements on their land.
In another hand, the International League of Human Rights in the Federal Republic of Germany expressed their solidarity with the village and their struggle against the wall (see the letter below).
Dear Friends of Bil’in,
dear Holders of the Carl-Ossietzky-Medal 2008,
the Award for Special Services in the Struggle for Human Rights of the International League for Human Rights in the Federal Republic of Germany
The International League of Human Rights expresses its solidarity for your demonstration, today on the 4th Anniversary of your courageous and steadfast resistance
Only two and a half months have gone by since we honoured you in Berlin - together with the Anarchists against the Wall - with a ceremony in which hundreds of people participated and which drew the attention of both media and politicians, in order to celebrate your courageous and and determined commitment to justice and freedom.
Once again we mourn in grief and fury the victims of the heinous invasion of the Israeli Armed Forces of Gaza, a massacre carried out against 1,5 million emprisoned human beings, with no means of escape, exposed and defenceless in the face of F16 planes and a bombardment carried out with internationally reprehended ammunition, including phosphorous and depleted uranium. A toll of more than 1400 dead, including hundreds of women and children. More than 5000 wounded, thousands of people made homeless, their houses either damaged or reduced to ruins. Even hospitals, schools and mosques became the targets of this destruction.
Unfortunately the latest election results of the 10th February show that Israeli society has still not understood, that the politics of occupation, the expropriation and theft of land and destruction hold no future perspective even for the majority of its own Israeli citizens.
All the more reason to assure you, our dear Friends of Bil’in on the 4th Anniversary of your brave and consistent non-violent resistance, that we are convinced of the rightness of your strategy, your political grass-roots movement and your actions for self-determination and freedom!
We assure you of our solidarity and support at all times!
You can rest assured, that here in Germany and Europe, together with many other non-governmental organsations for peace and human rights we shall do everything in our power to make any effort to convince the Federal German government and the EU of the necessity of undertaking political and economic measures, as well as imposing sanctions against Israel, until human rights, freedom and self-determination for Palestine have become reality.
Your struggle has become a symbol of hope for millions of people, seeking law and justice. Your struggle will and indeed must be crowned with success – in the interest of your village, of the people in Palestine and in Israel, in the interest of all people committed to the fulfilment and further development of human rights.
Prof. Dr. Fanny-Michaela Reisin (President) E-mail: FannyM.Reisin@ilmr.de