Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In those days and in this time

An interesting coincidence. Exactly the time when Jews, in this country and world-wide, are celebrating Hanuka, was also when Israeli soldiers were sent to capture Abdullah Abu Rahme of Bil'in Village and bring him into detention. Already for years Abdullah Abu Rahme is organizing the people of his village to a persistent struggle, with no weapons in their hands, about the theft of their lands and livelihood – supposedly for erection of the "Separation Fence", in fact in order to extend the giant ultra-Orthodox settlement Modi'in Illit.

Abdullah Abu Rahme is leading the struggle of villagers who defend their land with courage and determination. The soldiers who are sent by the State of Israel come to oppress these villagers by brute force, use again and again their full might – and the villagers remain unbroken.

Two thousand years ago there lived in exactly the same region villagers, not so different, who bravely resisted the brutal soldiers sent by a king named Antiochus. The victory over occupying soldiers won by these ancient villagers led by the Maccabees, is the event which the Jewish religion sought to commemorate by instituting the holiday called " Hanuka"...

I host here the report of Roy Wagner, who every week reports on the struggle of Palestinian villagers whose lands are stolen, and on the activists who come to support them.

"A total of about 25 Israelis and internationals joined the Palestinians of Bil'in for a relatively small demonstration against the wall. The focus of the protest was the arrest of Abdullah Abu Rahme, a member of the popular committee, whose prominent presence in demonstrations and attempts to curb the use of stones and gas canisters made him such a dangerous person, that the Israeli army had to break into Ramallah in the middle of the night to abduct and arrest him. The new border police soldiers were very eager to spend gas canisters, and the wind made it difficult to maintain steady presence near the gate, which was nevertheless opened by the demonstrators. Many suffered from gas inhalations, some were bruised, and some went on to get arrested in the demonstration in Sheikh Jarah, just in time for the lighting of the first Hanuka candle. May the occupiers be defeated as was the evil king Antiochus."

So far the report of Roy Wagner, you can contact him at rwagner@mta.ac.il