Abdallah Abu Rahmah being arrested by Israeli soldiers at demonstration in Bilin in 2005. (Oren Ziv/ActiveStills)
I mark the beginning of the new decade imprisoned in a military detention camp. Nevertheless, from within the occupationâ€²s holding cell I meet the New Year with determination and hope.
I know that Israel’s military campaign to imprison the leadership of the Palestinian popular struggle shows that our nonviolent struggle is effective. The occupation is threatened by our growing movement and is therefore trying to shut us down. What Israel’s leaders do not understand is that popular struggle cannot be stopped by our imprisonment.
Whether we are confined in the open-air prison that Gaza has been transformed into, in military prisons in the West Bank, or in our own villages surrounded by the apartheid wall, arrests and persecution do not weaken us. They only strengthen our commitment to turning 2010 into a year of liberation through unarmed grassroots resistance to the occupation.
The price I and many others pay in freedom does not deter us. I wish that my two young daughters and baby son would not have to pay this price together with me. But for my son and daughters, for their future, we must continue our struggle for freedom.
This year, the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee will expand on the achievements of 2009, a year in which you amplified our popular demonstrations in Palestine with international boycott campaigns and international legal actions under universal jurisdiction.
In my village, Bilin, Israeli tycoon, Lev Leviev and Africa-Israel, the corporation he controls, are implicated in illegal construction of settlements on our stolen land, as well as the lands of many other Palestinian villages and cities. Adalah-NY is leading an international campaign to show Leviev that war crimes have their price.
Our village has sued two Canadian companies for their role in the construction and marketing of new settlement units on village land cut off by Israel’s Apartheid Wall. The legal proceedings in this precedent-setting case began in the Canadian courts last summer and are ongoing.
Bilin has become the graveyard of Israeli real estate empires. One after another, these companies are approaching bankruptcy as the costs of building on stolen Palestinian land are driven higher than the profits.
Unlike Israel, we have no nuclear weapons or army, but we do not need them. The justness of our cause earns us your support. No army, no prison and no wall can stop us.
Abdallah Abu Rahmah
From the Ofer Military Detention Camp
Abdallah Abu Rahmah is a schoolteacher and nonviolent activist from Bilin. He is currently being held in an Israeli prison after he was arrested on International Human Rights Day, at 2am on 10 December 2009, by Israeli occupation forces.
- My husband: jailed for protesting Israel’s wall, Majida Abu Rahmah (7 January 2010)