Four Palestinian civilians were kidnapped by Israeli troops during a pre-dawn invasion targeting the village of Nil’in, central West Bank. Israeli troops told their families that they have been kidnapped for their involvement in the weekly nonviolent protests against the Israeli built wall on villager’s lands. Around 100 Israeli soldiers stormed the small village near Ramallah. Troops searched a number of homes and ransacked them before taking the four men to an unknown detention camp for questioning, villagers reported.
Last week, Israeli troops kidnapped two organizers from the popular committee against the wall and settlement construction in Nil’in village and one from the nearby village of Bil’in. Also, last Friday Israeli troops have used live ammunition to suppress the anti wall protest in Bil’in. A clear indication that the army are stepping up policies to counter those weekly actions.
According to the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee Israeli troops have kidnapped 94 residents of Nil’in village in connection to the protests since they started nearly two years ago. In Bil’in, where nonviolent protests are being organized for five years now, 34 residents have been kidnapped over the past six months.
Eyad Burnat is head of Bil’in’s popular committee against the wall and settlement construction. He says those arrests will not stop the movement.
‘This is a new Israeli policy to stop the popular struggle, because it affects the Israeli propaganda, and exposes the true violent face of the Israeli army. That is why they want to stop it by arresting the organizers of those events, but at the end we say the struggle will continue even if they arrest us all.’ Burnat said.
The Israeli military policy does not stop at invasions and kidnappings. Some organizers report intimidation too. Mahmoud Zwahra is from the village of Al-Ma’sara near Bethlehem, where people have organized against the wall for the past three years.
‘At the end of last year(2009) they started to phone us, they said that will not allow any demonstrations in the village and if we going to see one we are going to arrest you and but you in the black list meaning the well not allow us to travel.’ Zwahra commented.
Currently, the Israeli military is holding at least six members of the popular committee against the wall and settlements. They are accused of incitement against the military. All are currently being held based on secret evidence that their lawyers have no access to and without any charges brought against them in the military court.