Bil’in: Palestinian journalist detained
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Bil’in: Palestinian journalist detained

Israeli occupation forces arrested journalist Haitham Al-Khatib, a photographer working with an Israeli human rights organisation and the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements, during the weekly demonstration in the village. Furthermore, large amounts of tear gas fired at protestors caused dozens of cases of breathing difficulties.

The march was called for by the Popular Committee against the Wall and the Settlements in Bil’in, and joined by solidarity activists. The people raised Palestinian flags and banners condemning the occupation, the settlement construction, and called for an end to the arrests of anti-Wall activists and the release of all detainees.

The march headed towards the Wall, where the occupation army was waiting for them hidden behind concrete blocks behind the Wall. The gate in the Wall was closed with barbed wire. When demonstrators attempted to cross towards their land behind the Wall, the army fired sound bombs and rubber-coated metal bullets atthe people. The military used a cannon mounted on a military jeep able to shoot dozens of teargas canisters at once. The occupation forces also chased protestors trying to arrest them. Finally, they arrested the journalist Haitham Khatib, who was there to cover the demonstration. This excessive use of force and the arrest of a journalist covering a protest shows the blatent disregard that the Israeli occupation forces have for the human rights of Palestinians.

This is only the latest arrest in a series of repressive measures, including many arrests of active members of the community. In fact, the Popular Committee Against the Wall and the Settlements in Bil’in also denounced today the Israeli occupation army’s decision to prolong the detention of Abdallah Abu Rahma, the head of the popular committee in Bil’in, for the fourth consecutive month and of Adib Abu Rahma for the ninth month. The popular committee appealed to international solidarity movements and all the friends of the Palestinian people across the world, political parties, civil society organizations and human rights organizations to organize events calling for the release of leaders and activists of the anti-Wall movement, and in particular Abdullah Abu Rahma. The popular committee urged them to start a letter writing campaign to the Israeli embassies in their countries.

The cultural center announced an initiative to develop the tradition of voluntary work in the village. The call for a day of voluntary work is on April 17 2010 to mark the anniversary of the assassination of Basem Abu Rahme by the Israeli military. Youth will gather and clean and paint the walls in the village.