News & Politics

The Violent Repression of Peaceful Palestinian Protests Continues

8,000 Palestinians currently inhabit Israeli jails on purely political grounds.

On a pitch black early December night, seven armored Israeli military jeeps pulled into the driveway of a home in the West Bank town of Ramallah. Dozens of soldiers, armed and possibly very scared, came to arrest someone they were probably told was a dangerous, wanted man - Abdallah Abu Rahmah, a high school teacher at the Latin Patriarchate School and a well-known grassroots organizer in the village of Bil'in.

Every Friday, for the past five years, Abdallah Abu Rahmah has led men, women and children from Bil'in, carrying signs and Palestinian flags, along with their Israeli and international supporters, in civil disobedience and protest marches against the seizure of sixty percent of the village's land for Israel's construction of its wall and settlements. Bil'in has become a symbol of civilian resistance to Israel's occupation for Palestinians and international grassroots.

Abu Rahmah was taken from his bed, his hands bound with tight zip tie cuffs whose marks were still visible a week later, and his eyes blindfolded. A few hours later, as President Obama spoke of "the men and women around the world who have been jailed and beaten in the pursuit of justice" upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Abu Rahmah's blindfold was removed as he found himself in a military detention center. He was being interrogated about the crime of organizing demonstrations. In occupied Palestinian territories, Abu Rahmah's case is not unusual - about 8,000 Palestinians currently inhabit Israeli jails on political grounds.


Jonathan Pollak is an Israeli activist who has been involved in Palestinian popular resistance for the past seven years.
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