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IDF court convicts Palestinian non-violent organizer, EU human rights defender

Israeli military court convicts Abdullah Abu Rahmah of obstructing a bulldozer building the separation barrier. His previous trial and imprisonment was followed closely by western governments.

Abdullah Abu Rahmah at his trial in the Ofer Military Court, September 15, 2010. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Abdullah Abu Rahmah at his trial in the Ofer Military Court, September 15, 2010. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Abdullah Abu Rahmah, one of the central organizers of the popular resistance protests against the separation barrier in the West Bank village of Bil’in, was convicted of obstructing the work of a soldier by an Israeli military court this week. He will likely be sentenced to four months in prison.

Abu Rahmah, who was recognized by the European Union as a “human rights defender” dedicated to non-violence, previously served over a year in prison for organizing “illegal marches” as well as for “incitement.” All political demonstrations are illegal for Palestinians under Israeli military law.

+972 named Abu Rahmah “person of the year” in 2010. The choice was made, we wrote at the time:

Because he has become the face of the grassroots, unarmed resistance movement to Israel’s security barrier; because he is the person who has raised international awareness not only of the devastation caused by the barrier, but also the existence of a well-organized, non-violent grassroots opposition movement  – one that brings together Palestinians, Israelis and international supporters in a joint struggle. Because he is the answer to the question, “Where is the Palestinian Gandhi?” (answer: there are many; and they are languishing in Israel’s jails). Because he has never wavered in his commitment to non-violence – not even after his cousin Bassam Abu Rahmah was killed by a high-velocity tear gas canister shot by Israeli soldiers directly at his chest; nor after his cousin Adeeb Abu Rahmah was arrested and imprisoned for participating in weekly demonstrations against the barrier that separates the people of Bil’in from their own farmland.

Among other things, Abu Rahmah was arrested in the past for possession of spent tear gas grenades the Israeli army shot at protesters in Bil’in. The indictment, in which he was not convicted, referred to the used grenades as “weaponry.”

A display of spent tear gas canisters for which Abu Rahmah was indicted but not convicted. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

A display of spent tear gas canisters for which Abu Rahmah was indicted but not convicted, Bil’in, January 3, 2010. (Photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

This week Abu Rahmah was convicted by a military court of obstructing the work of a soldier. The incident occurred in 2012 when he attempted to stop a bulldozer from clearing the route for the construction of a fence in the Beitunia area of the West Bank. According to AFP, Abu Rahmah’s conviction will include a four-month suspended sentence for an arrest in 2009, in addition to another that the court will decide on in the beginning of December.

Abu Rahmah’s attorney, Gaby Lasky, told AFP that the conviction is part of the army’s continual harassment of non-violent activists. The indictment is politically rather than criminally motivated, she added.

Regarding Abu Rahmah’s previous arrest, it is important to clarify that any and all Palestinian protests in the West Bank are illegal under Israeli military law. Therefore, any march is also deemed illegal. In addition, the crime of “incitement” does not necessarily refer to incitement to violence, but rather to any form of demonstration or protest.

Related:
+972 Magazine’s 2010 Person of the Year: Abdullah Abu Rahmah
PHOTOS: What the press missed in Bil’in tear gas flower garden
WATCH: Hundreds commemorate nine years of popular struggle in Bil’in

A version of this article was first published on +972’s Hebrew-language sister site, Local Call. Read it in Hebrew here.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Richard

      Man was trying to stop construction of a wall to block terrorists from blowing up Jewish people on buses. If you care more about Palestinians keeping some farmland than Jews keeping their lives, you’ve got pretty screwed up priorities. So I guess I’m not surprised that Europeans like this guy.

      Reply to Comment
      • Jan

        If Israel was really interested in keeping busses from being blown up they would have built the aparthied wall on the Green Line. This hideous wall goes deep into the West Bank, dividing people from their lands, from their schools, from their families.

        In this case this brave man is trying to protect the confiscation of the lands of his village. That is his right . It is the state of Israel that is in the wrong and has been from the day they built the first illegal settlement.

        Richard you have to know that Israel wants no resistance, whether violent or non-violent, to its takeover of the West Bank or to its oppression of the Palestinians. They want the Palestinians to bow down and accept the Israeli jackboot on their necks or, better yet, leave so that Israeli Jews can take their lands and property.

        As the article notes, people ask where is the Palestinian Ghandi? I have heard that question many times in the past. The answer is that he has either been deported as was Mubarak Awad in 1983, rotting away in a Israeli prison, or killed by an Israeli bullet or bomb.

        Face it Richard. Israel wants the land and they want that land with as few Palestinians on that land as possible. And they want no resistance to their criminal activity. Those who resist will face the wrath of Israeli “justice.”

        Reply to Comment
        • Brian

          The constant lesson to the Palestinians in the territories is that nonviolent demonstration does not work, that nonviolence will be met with Israeli violence. The question is asked, disingenuously, “where is the Palestinian Ghandi?,” all the while Israel shows every day that it is actually acutely uncomfortable with nonviolent protest and even employs operatives devoted to turning nonviolent protests violent so that they can be even more forcibly put down and that force can be justified, followed by “where is the Palestinian Ghandi?”

          Reply to Comment
      • Ray

        The definition of a false dilemma: Jews die, unless we accept the violation of another peoples’ land and rights.

        Reply to Comment
      • Josh

        Just get the fuck out of Westbank and nobody tries to kill you there.
        Ii is Abdullah Abu Rahma’s land, he has every right to destroy whatever you occupiers build there illegally. Just that easy, no reason to weep.

        Reply to Comment
        • Richard

          Josh – Israel will stop “occupying” the West Bank as soon as the last country to have internationally recognized sovereignty there returns and establishes law and order. That country is called the Ottoman Empire. Josh will you ring them and get that process going? Really Josh…I love, I mean LOVE how pragmatic you are. Its great how you have so little spite and personal vitriol for ‘occupiers’ and so much love and concern for the people living the West Bank. Love that about you.

          Reply to Comment
          • Yvette

            “Israel will stop “occupying” the West Bank as soon as….”

            Just laughably dishonest. But then, when your hero and role model is Netanyahu, what else can be expected?

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard

            I was being sarcastic you imbecile.

            Reply to Comment
          • Yvette

            Now now. Don’t try to weasel out. Be man enough to admit you meant what you said however laden with evasive sarcasm around the edges it was. What kind of a wimpy Zionist apparatchik are you? Ottoman schmottoman. It’s always something. “Just as soon as Abbas accepts The Nation State of…. No wait!, as soon as Abbas sings Hatikvah and pays up on his ZOA dues! No wait! As soon as…..”

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard

            That you have the motor dexterity to type and still don’t understand what I was being sarcastic ABOUT is very interesting, from a neurological perspective. Do you still have all of your frontal cortex?

            Reply to Comment
          • Yvette

            That’s all you got? LOL! Fascist punk.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            Evidently you have lost the argument, so let’s resort to the next best thing – name calling. We can all read stupid comments and think ‘imbecile’ but it rarely advances your cause to make such open accusations. But you are fighting a losing battle and the world now realises this.

            Reply to Comment
        • CigarButNoNice

          Fixing it for Josh:

          Just get the **** out of Judea and Samaria and nobody tries to kill you there.
          It is the Jews’ land, they have every right to destroy whatever the Arab settler-colonists (those falsely calling themselves “Palestinians” to frame themselves as indigenous) occupying the land have built there illegally. Just that easy, no reason to weep.

          Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            That this is Jewish land is simply a fairy story. Jews did live there once upon a time but many left for the flesh-pots of Alexandria, Rome and elsewhere, leaving a peasant remnant who converted first to Christianity and then to Islam. The indigenous population of New York, Moscow, Warsaw, Constantinople and many other cities of the world have not an iota of legitimacy claiming Palestinian land.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Philos

      It just goes to show that all forms of Palestinian resistance are suppressed in equal measure by Israel so it makes little difference whether that resistance is violent or not. That’s the unassailable truth of the matter. All those hand wringing liberals who ‘condemn’ Palestinian terrorism but claim to support ‘non-violent’ resistance fail to understand that the type of resistance makes little difference to Israel. Whatever form of resistance a Palestinian chooses the consequences are the same: imprisonment, maiming or death.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Bruce Gould

      This is the 2011 annual human rights report in the occupied territories from B’tselem (download the full pdf at the upper right):

      http://www.btselem.org/press_releases/20120321_2011_annual_report

      After I read that President Rivlin said that Israel was a sick society yesterday I reread portions of my hard copy – it is an amazing document.

      Reply to Comment
        • Bruce Gould

          Actually I rely on Israelis who have served their military time in the West Bank and who have told me what’s going on in person. But I still invite people to read the report, look at the maps, and draw their own conclusions.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            “he-said-she-said” is, according to yourself, your modus operandi! ‘The he’ and ‘the she’ are all unknowns, while what he said and what she said are equally unknown and unverifiable. That’s how reliable you are. That’s how armature propagandists like yourself operate.

            Reply to Comment
    4. Bruce Gould

      Re the recent flap over B’tselem employing a holocaust denier,

      http://freebeacon.com/national-security/btselem-sticking-by-staffer-accused-of-holocaust-denial/

      Meanwhile, Abu-Alrub vehemently denied that he questioned the Holocaust.

      “The genocide that the Nazis committed against the Jews, is an indisputable fact that only an ignorant or insane man would contradict,” he said in a statement sent to the Free Beacon by B’Tselem. “I am neither, and I have no shred of a doubt that what happened to the Jewish people is a despicable crime that any human being must condemn.”

      But I urge people to verify the B’tselem research on their own.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Ginger Eis

      In the United States, Canada, countries of the European Union, etc. people get indicted and sentenced for disorderly conduct and similar crimes. But how dare Israel do the same? What a HUGE monster this Israel!!!!! Where is the International Community? Convene the United Nation Security Council” immediately and pass a resolution condemning this BIG crime.

      Reply to Comment
      • Yvette

        What a devious person you are. Just so transparent. So shameless. Beneath contempt.

        Reply to Comment
      • Jan

        GInger, I am cetain that if Jews were defending their land against theft by others you would be right out there saying that the Jews could do whatever they wanted in defense of their land. The land that this brave man is defending belongs to his village. It belongs no one else and certainly not to a thieving state that is bound and determined to take it from him and the village.

        You validate everything that has been said. Israel will brook no resistance, violent or non-violent to its oppression of the Palestinians or to the ongoing theft of their lands. I guess that you don’t know that people living under occupation and oppresion have every right to fight their occupiers especially when there is an occupation that has gone on for more than 47 years and which shows no sign of every ending even if the Palestinians get down on their knees and swear allegiance to the country that has had its jackboot on their necks for decades. Ginger you know damn well that Israel wants ALL the land and when they get it they’ll probably start looking at the east of the Jordan River and at the Litani River to the North. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

        BTW Ginger I guess you didn’t read one of my last comments. I am not a man. I am a woman, a mother, a grandmother and the granddaughter of a rabbi. So go away Ginger and stop making assumptions about something or someone. You are truly nuts and seem to believe that because we are Jews we have the right to take the land and homes of others and those who are being robbed have no right to complain.

        Reply to Comment
        • CigarButNoNice

          @Jan “You are truly nuts and seem to believe that because we are Jews we have the right to take the land and homes of others”

          Nice humanistic sentiments, but in true Judaism you’re not supposed to believe the Land of Israel belongs to any other nation. (Which, by the way, is why I’m sure the “beautiful bride but married to another man” story is a fraud—even the Satanmarer Hasidim don’t believe the Jewish people has _permanently_ forfeited the right to the land.)

          A Jew saying any part of the Land of Israel belongs to the Arabs is like a Greek saying any part of Hellas belongs to the Turks.

          http://shorl.com/pradokiryjosu

          Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Hey thanks for clarifying your religious nationalist fanatic motivations. I kinda guessed but it helps to evaluate your product here.

            Reply to Comment
          • CigarButNoNice

            “…your religious nationalist fanatic motivations.”

            Yeah, because calling for replacing the one and only Jewish nation-state in the world with a multicultural propositional free-for-all where the Jews can be relegated to dhimmi status once the Arabs become a majority isn’t fanatical at all. /sarc

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            As Josh already said, genius, it’s not sociological rocket science, just get out of the West Bank, you’re the one forcing your culture on others. Instead you whine about multiculturalism. What a joke.

            Reply to Comment
          • CigarButNoNice

            Why should Jews leave their indigenous territory, leftwit? That’s like calling for French in France to leave a neighborhood where they’re having trouble with North African Muslim immigrants. It’s the colonists who should leave, and in the Land of Israel the colonists happen to be the Arabs.

            Additionally, if the Jews were to be ethnically cleansed out of the post-1967 lands, that would only move the conflict to its next phase: the attempt to destroy the remaining Jewish State by making it a multicultural free-for-all. That’s why I mentioned it. Anyone who thinks the hunger of the Arab imperialists for Jewish land will be sated with the ceding of the post-1967 territories is naive, to put it most charitably.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            You must be an incredibly learned man if you can determine what true Judaism is (or true Christianity, true Islam, true Zionism or true socialism) – or maybe an idiot who believes that your version of fundamentalism is universally accepted. Let us suppose that true Judaism is the religion of Abraham and David then please explain why Abraham spent 400 silver shekels of his hard-earned dosh purchasing the field of Mechpelah (Genesis 23:16) and why David lashed out 50 shekels for the threshing floor that became the site of a temple (2 Samuel 24:24). It seems that neither of them believed the absurd idea that God was in the business of dishing out real estate. Why then do fanatics like you persist in this stupid pretense?

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            He says he’s interested in Israel not becoming a multicultural free for all but the Arab majority Greater Israel he’s intent on will be just that. So, EITHER he’s conceptually incoherent OR he envisions mass population transfer, ethnic cleansing on a grand scale, in the scheme he’s cooked up in his mind.

            Reply to Comment
    6. Pedro X

      Jan:

      “If Israel was really interested in keeping buses from being blown up they would have built the apartheid wall on the Green Line.”

      The Supreme Court in the Beit Sourik decision decided that the security fence was built in accordance with security and not political considerations. The Court looked at whether building the security fence on or inside in 1949 armistice lines would provide the needed security to Israeli citizens and the answer was no.

      The builders of the wall had to take into considerations such as topography in building an effective fence to keep terrorists out of Israel. The fence also had to protect Israelis in Judea and Samaria. The Court found that conducting raids in the West Bank to stop terrorism was not sufficient to stop terrorist organizations from sending in terrorists into Israel. The security fence provided a barrier stopping easy access to Israel which required the terrorists to take long alternate routes which gave security personnel the time to find and stop the terrorists.

      Case in point. The suicide bombing of the Park Hotel in Netanya. 250 Israelis were enjoying a Seder dinner when a Palestinian terrorist detonated a suicide bomb killing 30 Israelis and injuring 140 of them, many seriously for life. The terrorist infiltrated Israel from Tulkarem, just 6 miles from Netanya. Israel had been looking to arrest the terrorist and had asked the PA to arrest him. However, without the security fence the suicide bomber had easy access to enter Israel and minutes later detonate his bomb. If the security fence had been built, the Israeli security forces would have had an opportunity to stop him before entering Israel.

      The security fence reduced successful suicide attacks from 52 to 12 between 2002 and 2004. Between 2004 and 2009 389 suicide attempts were thwarted. The security fence did what it was intended to do.

      The State of Israel has a duty grounded in Israel’s Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty to defend the lives, safety, and well-being of Israeli citizens. Article 51 of the UN Charter gives Israel a right to self defence. Even if Israel occupies the West Bank, under section 43 of the regulations of Hague Conventions the military commander has the right to “take all the measures in his power to
      restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety…”

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        This is like Al Capone’s slick lawyer explaining to the judge that his client may be guilty of a wee bit of tax evasion (the charge Elliot Ness eventually sent him away to Alcatraz for) but “No Your Honor, no Sir!, Mr. Capone is not involved in any organized crime, Your Honor, Me. Capone is a businessman….” LOL!

        Reply to Comment
        • Whiplash

          Brian, your reply makes no sense. The security fence is a necessary protection against terrorism available both under international law and Israeli law. The Palestinians have no right, morally or legally, to blow up or otherwise kill Israelis. Israel has the right to defend itself.

          Reply to Comment
        • Piotr Berman

          It is more like Al Capone being tried by his own slick lawyer.

          Reply to Comment
      • Jan

        Had there not been an occupation and oppression of the Palestinians there would not have been suicide bombings. Had Israel not been deporting, killing and jailing those who promoted non-violent resistance there might not have been suicide bombing. Had Israel not been building its illegal settlements throughout the West Bank and Gaza bringing in the illegal settlements there would be no need for a wall. Had Israel stayed on its own side there would be a lot more people alive today.

        With no due respect to the Israeli court it cannot be stressed strongly enough that 10 years ago by a vote of 14-1, the International Court of Justice ruled the Wall to be illegal and that Israel must return all the land it confiscated for the Wall and to make reparations for all the damages caused by the Wall.

        Frankly I don’t give a damn what the Israeli court said. International law trumps them every day.

        There would be no need for the Wall had Israel gotten the hell out of the West Bank years ago.

        Reply to Comment
    7. Average American

      May I get the opinions of Jan and CigarBut on a direct question. What are the borders of “The Land Of Israel”? What does it look like on a map? From where to where? What are Israel’s intentions?

      Reply to Comment
      • Jan

        Israel has never defined its borders and so far has refused to do so. Some Israeli fanatics believe that the borders of Israel extend into Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon. These are the idiots who believe that some mythical god chose the Jews and gave them lots of land.

        In addition to not defining its borders Israel has, unlike most democratic countries, never written a constitution. If they wrote a constitution it would have to enshrine the supremacy of the Jewish population and that is not something that Israel wants known to the world. Of course the Jews of Israel are the supreme people in the land while the Palestinian citizens of Israel are clearly second class citizens. Meanwhile Israel denies any human rights for the Palestinians living under Israel occupation and oppression.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          Oh wow. That’s an impressive heap of Judeophobic lies.

          “Israel has never defined its borders and so far has refused to do so.” – Bullshit.

          “Some Israeli fanatics believe that the borders of Israel extend into Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon.” – Bullshit.

          “These are the idiots who believe that some mythical god chose the Jews and gave them lots of land.” – These ‘idiots’ also include all Christians and all Muslims.

          ‘In addition to not defining its borders Israel has, unlike most democratic countries, never written a constitution.’ – UK have no written constitution as well. Your point being?

          “If they wrote a constitution it would have to enshrine the supremacy of the Jewish population and that is not something that Israel wants known to the world.” – Bullshit.

          “Of course the Jews of Israel are the supreme people in the land while the Palestinian citizens of Israel are clearly second class citizens.” – There is no such thing as ‘Palestinian citizens of Israel’.

          “Meanwhile Israel denies any human rights for the Palestinians living under Israel occupation and oppression.” – ‘Human rights’ are inherently alien to ‘Palestinian’ society, as they are to all Arab societies which are subjected to be ruled by the barbaric Shariah law or even more barbaric ‘traditions’.

          Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Just get out a crayon and draw the borders. Until you do that, all of the claptrap you spout–THAT’S the genuine bovine manure. Just draw the lines. Oh? You’re not gonna do that? I thought so.

            Reply to Comment
          • Jan

            Your comments show that some bovine character has been tresspassing on your brain.

            I don’t care how many people around the world believe that some mythical God gave the land to Jews. There is no proof. There is no proof that the Bible or any other early religious tract was written by anyone but by high priests and rabbis to explain the unexplainable and, in the case of the Jews, to excuse their slaughter of the Canaanites. After all, if a god told them to kill every man, woman and child it must be OK.

            You do know that if you believe the Old Testament you must also believe that the earth is flat because the Old Testament says that after the flood Noah could see to the 4 corners of the earth. Sounds like a flat earth to me.

            Also tell me how Cain found a woman to marry. Nothing mentioned about the creation of any humans but Adam and Eve.
            Its all a great fairy tale designed to ensnare people into being believers and to control them.

            Reply to Comment
    8. In the initial discussions between Western powers and Arab leaders, Palestine was supposed to be JEWISH, for ‘close Jewish settlement of the land’ without prejudice to CIVIL and RELIGIOUS rights of non-Jewish inhabitants.

      Palestine was EXCLUDED from the promises made by the British (McMahon) to the Arabs (Husseini).

      This is exactly what Israel is doing: creating a beautiful Jewish country where everyone is free, everyone including Arabs, Druze, etc as well as Christians and Muslims.

      In response Palestinian extremism and bulldog attitude want now all the land for Arabs.

      Well, they should get one thing clear: THEY WON’T HAVE IT.

      Not (only) because God promised Jews that land – issue on which, by the way, Islam fully agrees – but because 20 something Arab countries are SUFFICIENT for all Arabs in the world and 1 Jewish country is NECESSARY for the Jewish people to have.

      Jordanians in the West Bank should go home IN JORDAN and leave Israel in peace.

      And that’s how things will be whether Arabs agree or not.

      Reply to Comment
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