On August 4, 2010 about 1 PM, Mohammed Khatib from Bil’in was denied exit to Jordan via King Hussein Bridge. Khatib was on his way to Spain via Amman when Israeli border officials prevented him from crossing the border to Jordan. Press Release By Friends of Freedom and Justice in Bilin –

Denying the leaders of the non-violent Popular Struggle to go abroad is clearly an attempt to silence Palestinians who speak about human rights violations committed by Israel.

This is not the first time Israel prevents leaders of the Popular Struggle to go abroad. Earlier this year Iyad Burnat, the leader of the Popular Committee in Bil’in was denied exit via King Hussein’s Bridge when on his way to Europe via Amman.

Burnat and his 5 year old daughter were detained at the border, and after hours of waiting they were sent back to Bil’in. Later Burnat was given a permission to travel abroad, unless he intended to speak about the situation in Bil’in. He is now threatened with arrest if he chooses to do so.

Both Khatib and Burnat had valid visas for their destinations, and had been planning their departure months in advance. Since Israel consequently denies Palestinian entry to Jerusalem and the consulates, achieving a visa is a time consuming process.

It is well known that crossing the border back to Israel after staying abroad also is a complicated and potentially dangerous process. In 2009 Mohammed Othman was arrested on the Jordan border when coming from a speaking tour in Norway. Othman was held under administrative detention for months, without trial and considered a “security threat”.

Mohammed Khatib and other activists for the Popular Struggle can tell about frequent violations on Human Rights, arrests and night raids carried out by the army, and theft of Palestinian land that makes life extremely difficult in their villages. As more and more people get aware of the situation in Palestine, Israel needs to find new strategies to silence their voices, and denying Palestinians the freedom of speech is one of them.

At 10 pm this evening Mohammed Khatib returned to Bil’in. He reports that the Israeli border police refused to let him pass to Jordan. The reason they gave was that the Israeli intelligence, Shebak, had given these instructions.

After 3 hours at the border, Khatib had to return back to Bil’in. He reports that he has a valid court decision from the Israeli Court, issued yesterday, allowing him to go abroad. This was ignored by the border officials and this proves once again that Israel is not following even its own law system.