Monday, January 31, 2011

Solidarity with Bil'in – Remembering Jawaher Abu Rahmah

The small village of Bil'in has been a focal point and a symbol of resistance in recent years against the construction of Israel's illegal Apartheid Wall and against the occupation of Palestine in general.

Located just over 10 km from Ramallah in the West Bank, since 2005 this village of less than 2000 residents has been the scene of weekly peaceful protests against the 700km long wall which the International Court of Justice has ruled is in violation of International law.

The response of the Zionist regime to these protests, despite their non-violent nature, has been to unleash lethal force against those participating in them. Their violent repression using tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition has resulted in countless serious injuries and deaths.

The latest casualty was 36 year old Jawaher Abu Rahmah who was killed on new years day as the Israeli Occupation Forces attacked the weekly demonstration once again. She died after inhaling toxic tear-gas fired at demonstrators by Israeli troops becoming the first Palestinian casualty of the occupation in 2011.

Jawaher is not the first member of her family to be injured or die at the hands of the occupation troops at these weekly demonstrations. 

In July 2008 her brother Ashraf Abu Rahma was deliberately shot and wounded with a rubber bullet by an Israeli soldier standing right next to him.  This was despite  the fact that the military had cuffed and blindfolded Ashraf after detaining him for taking part in part in protests against the wall in the nearby village of Ni'lin.

In April 2009 another brother Bassem Abu Rahmah was shot dead by an Israeli soldier who hit him in the chest with a high velocity tear gas canister.

Less than 3 months earlier in January 2009 their cousin Khamis Fathi Abu Rahmah was shot in the head with a similar high velocity tear gas canister also while attending the weekly protest. He was hit as he held his hands above his head to show he was unarmed. Despite being seriously wounded and remaining in a coma for 12 days, Khamis was lucky to survive though his injuries still cause him to suffer to this day.

Local protest organisers and leaders have also being singled out by the Israeli authorities for arrest and imprisonment in an attempt to quash the protests and intimidate those taking part.

On the night of December 12 2009 Abdallah Abu Rahmah, the co-ordinator of the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, was kidnapped by Israeli forces who raided his home at 2am in the morning. He was taken blindfolded from his home and remanded in Israeli custody. After an eight month long trial before a military court and despite the absence of any evidence against him, Abdallah was found guilty of “incitement” and “illegal protest” and sentenced to twelve months in jail.

 According to Amnesty International Abdallah is a prisoner of conscience, “jailed solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and assembly.”

He was due for release on November 18 last year but was kept imprisoned as Israeli authorities sought to have his sentence extended. Earlier this month, an Israeli Military Court of Appeals at Ofer increased his sentence from twelve to sixteen months.

Abdallah's real 'crime', and that of the population of Bil'in, has been that they have refused to allow themselves be intimidated into submission. They have stubbornly resisted everything the state of Israel has throw at them and have fought tooth and nail in defence of their rights, against the construction of the wall, against the theft of their land, against the illegal settlements and against the occupation of Palestine itself. 

Tomorrow Tuesday February 1st demonstrations organised by Queens University Belfast (QUB) Palestinian Society and the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) will take place in Belfast and Dublin. They are being held to honour the memory of Jawaher exactly one month on from her killing and to express solidarity with the people of Bil'in in their ongoing struggle against the might of Israeli occupation and repression.

The Belfast demo commences tomorrow at 12 noon at Queens University Student Union with the Dublin event commencing an hour later at 1pm outside the Israeli Embassy in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

Click here for more information on the protests

Click here and here for more information on Bil'in and the campaign against Israel's Apartheid wall

No comments:

Post a Comment