Campaign for the release of Abdallah Abu Rahmah
JVP in the States has launched a campaign for the release of Abdallah Abu Rahmah, Coordinator of Bil’in’s Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements
(See our earlier report Bil’in leader Abdallah Abu Rahmah arrested during military night raid)
As I am sending you this email, the people of Bil’in are protesting in solidarity with Abdallah Abu Rahmah. Here’s how you can stand in solidarity with them: Please contact President Obama and ask for Abdallah Abu Rahmah’s release. In the UK contact your MP and the Foreign Office.
On Thursday at 2 AM, the Israeli military surrounded the Ramallah home of Abdallah Abu Rahmah, a high school teacher and the Coordinator of Bil’in’s Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, and arrested him. Abu Rahmah is among the leaders of the West Bank village of Bil’in’s nearly five-year nonviolent struggle of protests, lawsuits and boycotts (1) aiming to save the village’s land from Israel’s wall and expanding settlements. Abdallah Abu Rahmah joins Mohammed Othman (2) from the village of Jayyous, Adeeb Abu Rahmah (3) from Bil’in and many other Palestinians who are currently jailed by Israel for working for justice.
At the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, which came hours after Abu Rahmah’s arrest, President Obama said, “there are the men and women around the world who have been jailed and beaten in the pursuit of justice… the unrecognized millions whose quiet acts of courage and compassion inspire even the most hardened of cynics. I cannot argue with those who find these men and women – some known, some obscure to all but those they help – to be far more deserving of this honor than I.” (4) Abdallah Abu Rahmah is one of those people.
In President Obama’s June speech in Cairo, he called on Palestinians to resist nonviolently, though Bil’in’s long and creative struggle has inspired tens of thousands of Palestinians, Israelis and people worldwide.
Another Nobel Peace Prize winner, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, explained during an August visit by the Elders to Bil’in (see picture), “Just as a simple man named Gandhi led the successful non-violent struggle in India and simple people such as Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela led the struggle for civil rights in the United States, simple people here in Bil’in are leading a non-violent struggle that will bring them their freedom. The South Africa experience proves that injustice can be dismantled.” (5)
Ask U.S. President Obama to stand by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and by Abdallah Abu Rahmah.
Abdullah Abu Rahmah’s arrest is part of an intensifying Israeli campaign to crush the growing Palestinian nonviolent movement of grassroots protests and boycotts against the Israeli occupation. Mohammad Othman (6) from the West Bank village of Jayyous has been held without charges since September 22nd. Othman is one organizer of Jayyous’ long campaign to save its land from Israel’s wall and settlements, and an advocate of the global boycott campaign against Israel, modeled on South Africa’s successful anti-apartheid struggle. Since June 23, 2009, 31 Bil’in residents have been detained by the military. A leading Bil’in activist, Adeeb Abu Rahmah has been detained for over five months for organizing grassroots demonstrations. Another Bil’in protest leader, Mohammed Khatib (7), was released on bail after an Israeli judge found that some of the evidence against him was falsified. The prisoners from Bil’in and Jayyous are just some of the nearly 11,000 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.
In September, 2007, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that the government had to move the wall in Bil’in to allow access to more of the village’s land (8). More than two years later, the Israeli government has yet to move the wall. Lev Leviev, the owner of one of the companies that has built settlements on Bil’in’s land, has been the subject of an international boycott campaign due to settlement construction (9). Another Leviev company is building the Zufim settlement on Jayyous’ land.
Israel’s efforts to crush all forms of Palestinian resistance and Israel’s continued settlement construction stand as a direct challenge to the US and to the entire international community.
Jewish Voice for Peace
(2) http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/publish/article_1237.shtml and http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/12/04/israel-end-arbitrary-detention-rights-activist