The wall in Bil’in, Palestine
I’ve been receiving e-mails from an organization called the Bil’in Friends of Justice and Freedom together with links to their website.
Bil’in is a small, peaceful village surrounded by hills and valleys, lying halfway between Yaffa and Jerusalem. It is among a number of local villages that fall under the governorate of Ramallah, 16km west of Bil’in. It has a population of 1800 in an area approximately 4000 dunums in size. Its people are known for their simplicity, hospitality and their good nature. They love peace and freedom, and reject injustice and oppression.
The Bil’in residents depend on agriculture as their main source of their income. Traditionally such income has been generated by raising cattle and poultry, and collecting the produce of bees and olive trees.
Bil’in and its residents have stood up to confiscation time and time again. At the beginning of the 1980s, the Matityahu settlement was built on a portion of Bil’in land and, at the beginning of the 1990s, another portion of land was confiscated for the Kiryat Sefer settlement. At the start of the millennium, yet another new settlement (Matityahu East) was built on Bil’in’s land. In April 2004, Israel began construction of its illegal Apartheid Wall on the western side of the village, expropriating about 2300 dunums of the land of Bil’in.
The people of Bil’in actively participated in non-violent Friends of Freedom and Justice-Bilin resistance against the oppression of Israel throughout the years of the illegal occupation. Side-by-side with international and Israeli activists, the people of Bil’in managed to achieve the recognition of the Israel high court, which recently ruled that the route of the Apartheid Wall near in the village is illegal and must be changed.
In line with their love of freedom and justice, an active group of young men and women decided to initiate a new society in the village called “The Bil’in Friends of Justice and Freedom Society”. The society aims to build a wide network of people from all over the globe who support Justice and Freedom for all. It also aims to strengthen the steadfastness of the Palestinian people and to transfer the experience of Bil’in across Palestine and beyond. Finally, the society aims to help and support the education of young Palestinian people at schools and universities throughout the region and beyond.
Here are some photos of the people of Bil’in and of the peaceful, nonviolent resistance in Bil’in against the wall.
Yesterday, I received an e-mail which said:
The Society of Friends of Freedom and Justice in Bilin have been very active organizing many activities in Bilin and the surrounding communities, like the weekly Demonstration against the apartheid wall and planting trees on Bilin land on both sides of the illegal wall.
The society has been active meeting with many popular committees all over Palestine in order to transfer the non violent message of Bilin and the experience of Bilin to many localities in the west bank.
About two months ago, the Israeli army has broken the only available digital camera for our society, and due to the active role our society plays through our community, our society is seeking help from our friends and partners.
The society is in need for the following:
1- Three computers
2- Photocopy Machine
4- T-Shirts and Hats
7- Office desk
8- LCD projector
9- High quality digital camera
For more information about how to donate to our society please do not hesitate
to contact us at:
Tel: +972 2 248 9129
Mobile: + 972 547 847 942
Your contributions are highly appreciated and will enable us to continue with our activities
One thing that deeply disturbs me about the candidates leading the race for the presidential nomination in the U.S. is that every last one, to my knowledge, supports the building of a wall — a wall like the one the people of Bil’in are resisting, with all that means — along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The mural above, on a wall near Bethlehem, was the joint effort of Mexican and Palestinian activists engaged in ongoing nonviolent resistance against the walls, against apartheid, against oppression, against violence.
I hope many reading will consider the people of Bil’in and their circumstances. And I hope many will consider what it might mean should the U.S. construct this kind of a wall along our own border.