Mohammad Khatib lying in front of his car (image by Haitham Khatib)

Friday afternoon in Bil’in village, the Israeli military blocked the main road toward the Israeli Annexation Wall and declared the entire area a ‘closed military zone’, just as demonstrators began marching down the road for their weekly non-violent demonstration against the Wall and illegal settlements.

Before the protest began, the soldiers stopped local organizer Mohammad al-Khatib while he was on his way to his field to harvest his family’s olives, the main source of income for the Palestinian families in Bil’in.

When the soldiers tried to confiscate his car, Mohammad al-Khatib staged a sit-in, lying in front of the car to prevent the soldiers from confiscating it. He told a camera person, “I will not move. This is my car, this is my land.”

The soldiers then abducted al-Khatib and took his car.

Local residents told reporters that this abduction was representative of the regular collective punishment suffered by villagers for holding peaceful weekly demonstrations against the occupation.

As they marched to the site of the Wall along an alternate route, protesters from the village, joined by Israeli and international activists, shouted, “WE WANT OUR FREEDOM! WE WANT HUMAN AND CIVIL RIGHTS! WE WANT JUSTICE!”

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