2 May, 2010 — Friends of Freedom and Justice – Bil’in
Iyad Burnat, a leader in the popular struggle against the Israeli wall, was banned by Israel’s military from crossing the West Bank borders into Jordan on Saturday. Burnat is head of the local committee against the wall and settlement in the central West Bank village of Bil’in. The villagers of Bil’in have been organizing weekly anti wall protest for five years.
“This is just another episode of Israel’s aggression on us; soldiers detained me for three hours and then told me to go back. When I asked them why, they said for ’security reasons.’” Burnat said.
Despite the non-violent nature of the protesters, the Israeli army often respond with violence. Last year the army killed local activist Bassem Abu Rahma after shooting him in the chest with a high-velocity tear gas bomb. In total the army killed 29 Palestinians during anti wall protests in the West Bank.
Burnat was going to tour a number of E.U countries to give talks about the Palestinian nonviolent popular struggle against the Annexation Wall in the West Bank.
Bil’in villagers continued nonviolent protests against the Wall; and the legal proceedings managed to get the Israeli Supreme Court of Justice, to order a re-routing of the wall section built on Bil’in’s land. Due to the ruling, the villagers got back 275 of the 600 acres Israeli was planning to use to build the wall.
Israeli troops stepped up attacks against community organizers starting February of last year; since then the military detained five popular committee organizers from Bil’in village during night invasions. As many as 85 people were detained by the army for up to 10 months because of their work in the popular resistance.
Two months ago the Israeli military authorities,in a further effort to suppress the nonviolent resistance, declared the area between the village and the Annexation Wall a closed military zone between 8am and 8pm on Fridays to internationals and Isralis – the day when Bil’in marches there in protest. Iyad Burnat has declared: “We will not be silenced, we will continue to resist, we refuse to die in silence, we will continue to cry out for peace and justice to a world whose ears are deaf to the agony of Palestine.”
Here’s a video from The Real News Network about the conference and ongoing protests in Bil’in.