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Bil'in: Beseiged Village

Illegal Israeli settlements inside the Green Line [border] as seen from a Bil'in village roof.

Bil'in, a small village west of Ramallah, lost 65% of its farm land, mainly olive groves, to Israel for illegal Israeli settlements. There has been constant settlement construction in the area for about five years. Every Friday since 2004, the villagers have had nonviolent demonstrations against the confiscation of their land, the illegal apartheid wall [three rows of fencing, one electrified] and the construction of the illegal settlements.

The village recently filed a law suit against two Canadian companies who were building the Israeli settlements here. [www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3414]. This seems to have brought harsher treatment by the Israeli soldiers against the villagers.

An Israeli Occupation Forces tower provides surveillance to the area
near the settlements and the village.

This week MPTers joined other internationals, Israeli activists and Bil'in villagers in a night watch for possilbe Israeli Occupation Forces incursions into the village. Two days ago six Israeli military jeeps entered the village. Soldiers returned to Abdullah's home, searched and tear gassed the home and shot live ammunition into the air. Abdullah, a nonviolent resistance leader, was not there. The army also invaded the home of Mohammed Khatib, also a nonviolent resistance leader, who had been beaten the week before, but they were not disruptive perhaps because of the presence of internationals as well as Israeli peace activists. Soldiers presented documents written in Arabic to three homes demanding that certain men in the homes surrender to an Israeli prison.

The night MPTers did night watch, one group did a walking patrol, and two other groups watched from two different homes. MPTers with another international went to the roof of Abdullah's home. That night no incursions by Israeli soldiers occurred.
Watchers looked for the lights of the Israeli army jeeps.

Palestinians, Israeli peace activists, and internationals will continue the night watches. The Israeli Occupation Forces are intent on threatening, harassing and arresting Palestinians. Their intermittent actions continue so that few villagers have peaceful nights of sleep.

The Abu Rahme home is under constant surveillance and harassment by the Israeli army.

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