Bi’lin – Peaceful Resistance to Illegal Barrier

During our first week in I/P, the interns took a trip to the West Bank village of Bi’lin. The interns met with Abdullah Abu Rahmah, from the local committee against the Wall and Settlements in the village. For years, Bi’lin has been a bastion of noviolent resistance to the separation barrier that Israel is constructing directly over its land. The barrier annexes 60% of Bi’lin’s land for a nearby Israeli settlement and prevents residents of Bi’lin from accessing their own farmland. The residents of the village, along with international activists, hold weekly protests against the barrier. Every week, Israel reponds to the protests with teargas, rubber bullets, sound grenades and even live rounds. A Palestinian named Bassem Ibrahim Abu Rahmeh was killed in April during a protest in Bi’lin when an IDF soldier shot him in the chest with a teargas canister.
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Here are a couple of videos showing the IDF’s reaction to Palestinian nonviolent resistance/civil disobedience in Bi’lin.

The IDF also consistantly rolls into Bi’lin and arrests Palestinian and International activists involved in nonviolent resistance against the separation barrier.

Let’s look at the big picture. All of the settlements in the West Bank are contrary to internataional law under Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention. The International Court of Justice, in its advisory opinion, ruled that the entire Separation Barrier being contructed through the West Bank is in violation of international law. The settlement of Modi’in Illit, right next to Bi’lin, and the barrier enclosing it are both illegal under the tenets of International Law. It is crystal-clear that Israel has no intention of abiding by acceptable international standards for resolving the conflict. It is choosing land over peace. The purpose of the settlements and the wall, in the words of Ehud Olmert, are to “create a clear boundary as soon as possible, one which will reflect the demographic reality on the ground. Israel will maintain control over the security zones, the Jewish settlement blocs…” Israel is creating illegal facts on the ground and the residents of Bi’lin are resisting these facts through nonviolent means.

On September 4, 2007, the Israeli High Court ruled that the government needed to redraw the path of the wall because of it’s negative effect on Palestinian life in Bi’lin. The government and the IDF have neglected to act upon this ruling. Not only is the Israeli government showing complete disregard for International Law, it is disregarding the laws of it’s own Supreme Court. It’s official, Israel is a cowboy-like society. What’s the point of even having a supreme court if the Israeli government doesn’t respect its rulings?

Once the internship is finished I will go to one of the weekly protests against the barrier in Bi’lin. Hopefully I will have a video of that uploaded soon thereafter.

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