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Thursday, 24 December 2009

Bil’in leader charged with arms possession – the tear gas cannisters shot at demonstrators!

Abdallah Abu Rahmah, a leader of the weekly nonviolent protests in Bil’in, has finally been charged after being arrested nearly two weeks ago by the Israeli military. Abu Rahmah’s arrest has been part on an ongoing Israeli campaign against Palestinian nonviolent resistance leaders. The charges against him could not be more creative. From a Popular Struggle Coordination Committee press release:

Abdallah Abu Rahmah, a school teacher and coordinator of the Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall, was indicted in an Israeli military court yesterday. Abu Rahmah was slapped with an arms possession charge for collecting used tear gas canisters shot at demonstrators in Bil’in by the army and showcasing them in his home.

An indictment was filed in a West Bank military court yesterday for incitement, stone throwing and arms possession charges against Bil’in Popular Committee coordinator, Abdallah Abu Rahmah. On receiving the indictment Adv. Gaby Lasky, Abu Rahmah’s lawyer said that “the army shoots at unarmed demonstrators, and when they try to show the world the violence used against them by collecting presenting the remnants – they are persecuted and prosecuted. What’s next? Charging protesters money for the bullets shot at them?”

Adam Horowitz December 23, 2009
From Mondoweiss

Why is Bil’in Under Attack

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.

Bilin resident charged with displaying used bullets

Head of Bilin Popular Committee Abdallah Abu Rahma indicted for possession of grenades, used bullets and their display at exhibition meant to illustrate IDF conduct at demonstrations. Left-wing activist Jonathan Polack says 'It's an empty grenade, a piece of rubber'

Daniel Edelson

Published: 12.23.09 Yediot Aharanot

Abdallah Abu Rahma, chairman of the Bilin Popular Committee was indicted Tuesday for possession of tear-gas grenades and used M-16 bullets and their public display.

Abu Rahma was arrested on International Human Rights Day two weeks ago. IDF sources told Ynet at the time that the arrest was due to Abu Rahma's involvement in weekly demonstrations at his West Bank village in protest of the West Bank security barrier.

However, the indictment cites a different, official reason for the arrest – the possession of tear-gas grenades and used M-16 bullets in the purpose of displaying them in an exhibition showing the public the means used by security forces against protestors.

Abu Rahma was also charged on two other counts – incitement and hurling of stones at security forces with the intent to hit. "The committee members are inciting the masses to injure security forces while calling on the crowd 'fend them off', 'throw in their direction', 'don't let them fire,'" the indictment stated.

Another clause noted that the accused prepared bottles and balloons stuffed with rooster fieces to be hurled at security forces.

Jonathan Polack, an activist opposing the security fence and a close friend of Abu Rahma was shocked to learn of the arrest.

"What do they arrest a man for? An empty grenade? There's nothing in there, it's a piece of rubber. Those grenades were collected from the ground after the army fired them on protestors in Bilin and were meant for a display at the village showing the extent of violence employed by the IDF against protestors."
Polack further noted, "The indictment proves that they are out to arrest him and leaders of the popular struggle at any price, but it won't break us."

'Arbitrary move'

He said that Abu Rahma remained positive despite the indictment. "He believes in the justness of his way," Polack noted. "He will keep on fighting despite his friends and himself being shot and spending time in prison. It's not as if they have any other choice."

Abu Rahma's attorney Keren Lasky stated in response that his arrest was "an arbitrary move seeking to put an end to struggle within democracy. This is an anti-democratic step and we shall fight until he is released and until the right to protest against the occupation is recognized."

The IDF stated in response, "On Tuesday an indictment was filed against Abdallah Abu Rahma for offences of incitement, stone throwing and possession of arms.

"The prosecution motioned to extend his remand until all legal proceedings against him are completed. Abu Rahma's attorneys motioned to postpone the hearing by eight days and a remand hearing will be held next Tuesday in the Judea Military Court."

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