Solidarity with Bil’in- draft model letter
I/We am/are writing to protest in the strongest possible terms at the illegal military incursions and attacks by the IDF into the peaceful West Bank village of Bi’ilin near Ramallah. These terrifying night time incursions have resulted thus far in the arrests of 25 people (most under 18) 18 of whom still remain in detention.
Since 1991, 60% of Bi’ilin’s agricultural land has been confiscated to build settlements for Israeli Jews, unlawful under the Geneva conventions, as well as the annexation Wall, decreed illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004, as it is built on expropriated Palestinian land. The effect of these actions has been both to impoverish the defenceless Palestinian community and to imprison them in their village, where they are subject to repeated attacks by the Israeli army. These attacks have resulted in injury and even death.
However the people of Bi’ilin have responded with immense self-control. They have shown the strength of their commitment to a humanitarian outcome by opting for a strategy of non-violence. They have organised weekly demonstrations against the Wall, after Friday prayers. These demonstrations have attracted supporters from Israel and from peace campaigners around the world. However the Israeli army, under no threat whatsoever, has responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. On 17th April 2009, Bassem Abu Rameh, known to everyone including the Israeli army, as a man of peace, was shot dead at close range. Thus far there seems to have been no credible investigation of his death.
The Israeli government seems to find non-violent responses to its illegal behaviour extremely threatening. This may explain the dangerous escalation now taking place. Since June there has been an increased intimidatory atmosphere with regular night raids by heavily armed, face blackened IDF soldiers. These raids are accompanied by threats and intimidation of vulnerable civilians in the Bi’ilin area and by arrests. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the state wishes to make an example of those who would justifiably protest non-violently. They have the power to do this through the terror of night time raids, threats and intimidation of women, old people and children, and by jailing the members of the organising committees.
I/we write, as (a) committed supporter(s) of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, anxious for a peaceful and just solution to the conflict, to urge you to use your good offices with the Israeli Government and Ministry of Defence to call for a halt to these vicious and indiscriminate attacks and for a return to adherence to international law, the only protection all civilians have in these troubled times.
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