At 5pm on May 28, 2006, Palestinian workers from the nearby settlement of Modi’in Illit called Abdullah Abu Rahme, from Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements of Bil’in, to tell him there was huge fire at a ‘Palestinian outpost’ that has been in place for several months as part of the protest against the seizure of Palestinian land by Israeli settlers.
Abdullah went quickly to the outpost and found the army, the police, ambulance, and a fire truck there. He found one of the structures at the outpost burned down.
The outpost is two structures built by the people of Bil’in on their land that is separated from them by the Annexation Barrier and is near the settlement of Matityahu Mizrakh. It is an important site for the non-violent joint struggle between Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals. The people of Bil’in with Israeli and international peace activists have maintained a 24 hour presence at the outpost for the past few months. Today while Palestinian and international activists went to get food, the outpost was attacked.
The workers did not see who started the fire, but people in Bil’in suspect that settlers started it because last week people of Bil’in were harassed as they attempted to talk with settlers. The settlers were moving in to Matityahu Mizrakh settlement despite the Supreme Court injunction forbidding it. And three months ago, settlers attacked people with stones when they attempted a conversation with the settlers about the illegality of their presence in the settlement.
Israeli soldiers have violently attacked the weekly non-violent protests each Friday for the last year. For three weeks in a row, Israeli soldiers have shot Palestinians, Israelis and internationals in their heads with rubber-coated metal bullets. Six people have been hospitalized from the Israeli military’s attacks on non-violent protestors in Bil’in the last several weeks.
The police filed a report of the arson and said they will begin an investigation.