Bil’in is a Palestinian village that is struggling to exist. It is fighting to safeguard its land, its olive trees, its resources… its liberty.
By annexing close to 60% of Bil’in land for Israeli settlements and the construction of Israel’s separation wall, the state of Israel is strangling the village. Every day it destroys a bit more, creating an open air prison for Bil’in’s inhabitants.
Supported by Israeli and international activists, Bil’in residents peacefully demonstrate every Friday in front of the “work-site of shame”. And every Friday the Israeli army responds with violence, both physically and psychologically.
Bil’in residents have continued to withstand these injustices despite the frequent night raids of Israeli soldiers in the town followed by an increasing number of arrests of inhabitants and of activists. But now, the army has toughened the oppression by systematically arresting members of the Bil’in committee in charge of organizing the non-violent resistance actions. The aim of the arrests is to discourage Bil’in residents and reduce their resistance to the occupation.
By supporting Bil’in, you will help its inhabitants to continue their struggle and maintain hope in their fight for liberty. This site is dedicated to all people of good will - Palestinian, Israeli and the internationals who fight side by side against the injustices endured by the people of Bil’in.
It is important to realize that what is going on in Bil’in is emblematic of the situation in all of Palestine:
1980’s : Israeli colonies are established on some of the village lands
1991 : 200 acres of Bil’in agricultural lands are confiscated for the construction of the Kiryat Sefer settlement. After years of expansion, Kiryat Sefer is now part of the Modi’in Illit block of settlements.
2001 : Beginning of the construction works in East-Mattityahu (an extension of the Mattityahu settlement)
Late 2004 : More lands are confiscated, and the Israeli army posts the construction order for the separation wall.
January 2005 : Creation of the Bil’in Committee of popular resistance against the Wall and settlements.
February 2005 : Beginning of non-violent demonstrations in Bil’in. During the first months, demonstrations were daily. During the following months, they happened twice a week. In order to preserve its energies and best organize the creative resistance that will come to symbolize Bil’in, the Committee decided to hold the demonstrations once a week, on Fridays.
October 2005 : After several attempts to file a complaint with the Israeli Supreme Court, Bil’in files a new complaint, which, this time, is not rejected. It consists in demanding that the construction of the Wall and housing units in the East Mattityahu area-Est be stopped, as the construction plans were not approved by Israeli civil administration, and the Wall path passes well beyond the housing units were it is supposed to act as a "security" fence.
December 2005 : Documents reveal the illegality of settlement constructions on the lands of Bil’in (lack of permit and use of false documents).
The Palestinian villagers set up a trailer on the lands that have been confiscated from them - the first Palestinian outpost! Within hours the trailer was destroyed by the army. Bil’in did not renounce its project and the villagers set up a more permanent shack with a roof and windows respecting Israeli construction standards, which prevented its destruction.
January 2006 : Following a complaint filed by Bil’in and the unveiling of information on illegal procedures and means employed to take possession of lands belonging to Bil’in, the Israeli Supreme Court issued an order to stop the construction of housing units in Mattityahu-Est. The launch of an enquiry is also considered.
February 2006 : The Supreme Court orders to the State of Israel to justify why it refuses to alter the intended separation wall position in Bil’in.
The villagers build a second house on Bil’in confiscated lands. Together with the first outpost set-up in December 2005, these two houses become "Bil’in West": the first "Palestinian settlement".
The first year of Bil’in’s peaceful fight is marked by a conference on non-violent resistance.
March 2006 : New documents uncover an illegal network of land acquisition in the West Bank.
The Israel Court maintains its decision preventing construction of more housing units in the Modi’in illicit settlement, while, in another decision, it condones the existing illegal constructions.
May 2006 : Bil’in files a new complaint before the Supreme Court, demanding that the Supreme Court cancels the status of "State land" (owned by the sate of Israel) given to parcels of land confiscated from Bil’in in 1990 and 1991.
One of the outposts symbolizing Bil’in’s resistance is destroyed by arson.
July 2006 : The Israeli High Court of Justice maintains the interdiction to build new constructions and facilities in East Matityahu.
August 2006 : The Israeli Justice orders the demolition of two structures in East Matityahu.
September 2006 : Bil’in poses a new symbolic act: it erects a 17 feet by 10 feet sign announcing the construction of the « Falistin Hotel » on their confiscated lands that are on the other side of the Wall.
January 2007 : The Movement for Israeli urbanism legalizes, retroactively, the illegal construction in Modi’in Illit, in spite of the complaint filed by Bil’in at the Supreme Court and the ongoing investigation regarding the companies involved in the construction activities. These are two companies registered in Canada (Green Park and Green Mount) and two Israeli companies, Ein Ami and Heftsiba.
February 2007 : Discovery of underground water pipes and telephone lines on lands belonging to Bil’in
April 2007 : Second, and successful, edition of the Conference of non-violent resistance in Bil’in
May 2007 : Discovery of pipes and a reservoir for waste water belonging to the East Matityahu settlement, and shallowly buried in a parcel of Bil’in’s lands.
August 2007 : Group Heftsiba (builder of numerous constructions in settlements, including Modi’in Illit) is on the edge of bankruptcy, with debts evaluated at 800 million dollars. One of its top executives attempts suicide, another leaves Israel. Many settlers move into unfinished housing units in Modi’in Illit.
Peace Now blamed for Heftsiba fall
Heftsiba disaster predictable
Probe into Israeli building firm hailed
High court allows Modi’in Ilit residents to remain in Heftsiba apartments
A bench in the breach?
September 2007 : The Israeli Supreme Court unanimously adjudicated that the Wall path is prejudicial to Bil’in and must be altered. This decision should allow Bil’in to recoup close to 50% (about 100 hectares) of the lands that have been confiscated in late 2004.
In parallel to this decision in favour of Bil’in, the Court issues another decision ordering the preservation of the buildings already built on the village lands.
These decisions do not stop Bil’in’s non-violent resistance; the villagers keep fighting to advocate their rights and Impliment justice. Bil’in also gets involved in other actions, among others, by participating - with other villages as well as Israeli activists - in demonstrations against the roads of Apartheid (see the site Apartheid Masked as Peace Initiative) and collaborating with non-violent resistance against the Occupation arising from other Palestinian.
January 2008 : Israeli settlers attempt to set up mobile homes on Bil’in’s lands.
February 2008 : Anniversary of three years of non-violent resistance in Bil’in
May 2008 : Settlers set up mobile homes on Bil’in’s lands in order to expand the settlement of Mattityahu Mizrah.
Ashraf abu Rahme Arrested and Activists Assaulted as Settlement Expands onto Bil’in’s land
When A Flag In The Wind Stops Settlement Extension Work
Defense Ministry yet to start court-ordered reroute of Bil’in fence.
June 2008 : Third yearly Conference on non-violent resistance
On the demonstration of 13th, soldiers are shooting with live ammunition. Ibrahim Burnat, shot three times in the leg, is hospitalized in intensive care. Since one artery and some nerves have been damages, it is not know yet whether Ibrahim will recover the use of his leg.
UNICEF cuts all relations with Israeli-American billionnaire Lev Leviev. Chris de Bono, UNICEF’s senior advisor of communications for the executive director, declared that his organization would not accept any donation from or deal with Leviev or any of his companies or partners, directly or indirectly. This announcement followed a boycott campaign led by Adalah-NY concerning Lev Leviev’s implication in settlement development in Israel (notably on lands confisctaed from Bil’in and Jayyous).
July 2008 : Bil’in starts legal proceedings against two Canadian Companies, Green Mount Inc. and Green Park Inc. Both registered corporations in Quebec, these are currently building and selling condominium units in Modi’in Illit, a settlement currently spreading on lands that were confiscated from Bil’in under pretexts of "security".
The majority shareholder in the companies Green Mount and Green Park is Lexinter Management, a firm whose majority shareholder, F.T.S. Worldwide Corporation, is registered in Panama. Furthermore, F.T.S. Worldwide Corporation belongs to DGI Group, holder, notably, of the Israeli company DGI Diamonds, founded by Dan Gertler and active in diamonds extraction and sales.
In a press release dated to July 10th, the Adalah-NY rights group quoted articles from Israeli media, dated to 2005 and 2006, indicating that the Israeli-American billionnaire Shaya Boymelgreen is the CEO of Green Park Inc. and Green Mount Inc. Further evidence found by Adalah-NY show that the building of settlements - though not covered by the current complaint file by Bil’in - was entrusted by Shaya Boymelgreen, in the name of Green Park, to the Israeli company Danya Cebus, a branch of Africa Israel, owned by Lev Leviev.
Press Release: Palestinians Sue Boymelgreen Companies for War Crimes, Leviev Implicated
Adalah-NY - Land Developers BDS
Land grabs: A Palestinian village sues two Montreal-based companies over the construction of a West Bank settlement
Montreal firms used as fronts for Israeli settlements, activists say
As to the Israeli legal system, after ten months of waiting and a new injunction from the Supreme Court President, the State of Israel finally announced a new alternative path for the separation wall. In September 2007, the Supreme Court had ordered that a new path be drawn within a "reasonable" period of time.
The proposed alternative path would allow Bil’in to get back only 200 on the 2,000 dunums of confiscated lands the villagers were hoping to recoup.
Judge Dorit Beinish, the President of the Supreme Court, declared that this path is soon to be reviewed by a three-judge.
August 2008: Following a two-hour hearing in front of Judges Beinish, Prokachya and Rivlin, the High Court of Justice concluded on August 3, 2008 that the new route of the barrier in Bil’in is in violation of the Court ruling released on September 2007. The Court ordered the State to present within 45 days a new route, which will uphold the principles of the ruling, and to allow the plaintiffs and the other sides to respond on the new route within 21 days afterwards. Another hearing will take place shortly afterwards.