The Popular Committee of Bilâin organized a ceremony today to commemorate Prisoners Day as well as the death of Basem Abu Rahmah, who was murdered last year when he was shot with a tear gas canister in the chest during one of the weekly protests, and, as well, the 22nd anniversary of the killing of Abu Jihad by the Mossad.
Following the Friday prayer several speakers took the stage to talk about the resistance of the village and the Palestinian people throughout the history of this struggle against occupation and colonialism. The Popular Committee welcomed the crowd and invited everyone to join the protest. The family of Basem Abu Rahmah was represented by Basemâs brother, Ahmad Abu Rahmah, who spoke about Basemâs contributions to the village and especially to the struggle against the wall. The wife of Abu Jihad, Um Jihad addressed the crowd as well and sent a salute to the prisoners who remain behind bars, in particular Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Saadat.
Basel Mansour, the second secretary of Fatah said, “The Zionist enemy can kill our leaders and symbols and this cannot be compensated for at the moment, but do not forget that they point out to us the road to freedom. They give us hope and steadfastness, and give us motivation to dedicate ourselves to the nation. [â¦] Here in Bil’in people continue the resistance and continue to give generation after generation. Abu Jihad gave his life and Basem Abu Rahma followed in his footsteps.â
Following Basel Mansour, Sultan Abul-Enein from the Fatah Central Committee spoke. He recounted, âA few weeks ago I participated at the weekly protest in Bilâin when one of the Israeli soldiers went screaming âThis event is illegal!â. I kept this misconception in my mind: we are not legal in our land and this soldier represents the aggressor who has confiscated our land, is building his settlements and the wall, and is increasing his attacks on the people of Jerusalem. Furthermore, only a few days ago the military order 1650 was issued that would deport Palestinian âinfiltratorsâ from their land. They want us to surrender to the laws of occupation. But I tell them none of us accepts that the occupation will force us to raise the white flag, and we will continue to challenge the occupation. We want peace, which gives our people freedom, sovereignty and dignity in our land and the return of refugees to their land. There is no place for stability in the Middle East as long as Jerusalem is not the capital of a Palestinian state.â
After the short ceremony, protesters set out towards the wall carrying Palestinian flags and images of the martyrs Abu Jihad and Basem Abu Rahma and pictures of Abdullah Abu Rahma, coordinator of the People’s Committee, who is still held in Israeli jails. They carried banners condemning the repression of Palestinian human rights defenders, and others calling for the release of detainees.
When the protest reached the wall, they found an Israeli army unit stationed behind a concrete block. The gate that leads to the confiscated land was already closed and barbed wire was in place in front of it. The army fired teargas and rubber bullets at the demonstrators, causing dozens to suffer gas inhalation.
The Popular Committee of Bilâin also announced that next week it will hold its fifth annual International Conference on Grassroots Popular Resistance, starting on Wednesday, April 21 and continuing through Friday, April 23. The Committee invites all interested to join the conference.