Mohammed al-Khatib, leading member of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlement Construction in Bil’in, was arrested last night in a pre-dawn incursion.Al-Khatib, a proponent of non-violence, was awoken at approximately 1:45 am, Thursday morning, along with his wife and 4 children. His house was searched quickly, followed by Mohammed’s arrest, local sources reported.

After half an hour, the soldiers returned to search the house more thoroughly, without providing a search warrant, seizing Khatib’s phone and many documents, including those pertinant to legal proceedings in the Israeli High Court regarding Bil’in.

This ordeal lasted for approximately one and a half hours, with members of the international community, who had stayed in Bil’in to observe and document any arrests, forcibly prevented from joining Khatib’s family inside their house.

The soldiers explained that al-Khatib had been detained, and his belongings seized, under charges of “incitement”.

The Israeli military law regarding incitement states that it is defined as “an attempt, whether verbally or otherwise, to influence public opinion in the area in a way that may disturb the public peace or public order.”

Al-Khatib is the 35th resident of Bil’in to have been arrested since June 2009, in the escalating crackdown on organizers of non-violent protest, with similar events occurring regularly in the West Bank, including the villages of Ni’lin and al-Ma’sara.