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Israel seizes Bil'in anti-wall protest leader

Dec. 10, 2009 9:04 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 11, 2009 5:06 P.M.)
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli forces seized Abdullah Abu Rahmah, a member of the Popular Committee against the Wall ofthe village of Bil’in early on Thursday, according to Palestinian Authority police.

PA police said Abu Rahmah was seized from a house in the At-Tira neighborhood in Ramallah.

Iyad Burnat, the head of Bil'in's Popular Committee confirmed that the arrest took place at around 2:30am. He said Abu Rahmah was likely taken to the military prison in the settlement of Ofer, on the outskirts of Ramallah.

Abu Rahmah is a high school teacher in the Latin Patriarchate school in Birzeit near Ramallah.

Last Thursday Palestinians in the village said the Israeli military seized Rani Najar, 23, from his house at 2am.

The villagers say the nighttime raids are an attempt to quash Bil’in’s weekly nonviolent demonstrations against the wall Israel is building across the town. Thirty-one people have been arrested from the village since June; 16 remain in prison.

"My client's arrest is another blatant illustration of the Israeli authorities' application of legal procedures for the political persecution of Bil’in residents," said attorney Gaby Lasky, who represents many of the Bil'in detainees in a statement.

"The Bil'in demonstrators are being systemically targeted while it is the State [of Israel] that is in contempt of a High Court of Justice ruling; a ruling which affirmed that the protesters have justice on their side and instructed 2 years ago that the route of the Wall in the area be changed, which has not been implemented to date," she added.

Three teenage boys were also detained by Israeli soldiers at the Huwwara checkpoint south of the city of Nablus on Wednesday night, the police said. The detainees were identified as Ayman Nehad Shaker Masheh, 16, Mussa Yousif Abu Abieh, 16, and Amir Abed Fawzi Sawalma, 16. The three are from Balata Refugee Camp in Nablus.

The Israeli military said it detained five “wanted” Palestinians in the West Bank overnight.

The military said a pistol and a homemade explosive device were found in the home of one of the people its forces detained, south of the city of Ramallah.

According to a report from the Palestinian Monitoring Group of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Israeli forces arrested 205 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in November alone.

The military carried out 677 raids the same month, the report said.

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