New Year’s greetings from Mohammad Khatib, one of the remaining Bil’in popular committee leaders:
At the threshold of the New Year, I write to wish you a new year of freedom and liberation. This has been an unbelievable year for me in both highs and lows. A year during which I have witnessed how, despite repression, ordinary people all across Palestine take to the streets for freedom.
In my village, Bil’in, thousands of people marched on the Wall today to take it down. During the demonstration, one protestor, a 36 year old resident of the village, Jawaher Abu-Rahmah, was critically injured by severe tear-gas inhalation. She is currently hospitalized in Ramallah, unresponsive to medical treatment as the doctors are fighting for her life. [The morning after this was written, Jawaher lost her life. Cause of death: Poisoning from over exposure to CS gas.]
Bil’in has been struggling for almost six years against the Wall that was built on our lands. The illegality and absurdity of this wall has been recognized worldwide, and even by the Israeli Supreme Court, which ruled it must be dismantled over three years ago. Yet the Wall still stands. We, the people of Bil’in, the people of Palestine, have waited enough. Today was therefore declared by the Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements as the last day of the Wall. Together with our supporters, we managed to bring a substantial part of the wall down but we still have a long way to go.
On a personal note, the beginning of 2011 also strikes notes of fear. In just a few days, on January 3rd, 2011, my trial in front of an Israeli military court will draw into conclusion. Captain Sharon Rivlin, the soldier-judge presiding in my case, will hand down my verdict. If found guilty of “incitement”, my next letter will likely be written from inside a prison cell; If found guilty, despite having proved that evidence against me was falsified, I will proudly join my friend and comrade, Abdallah Abu Rahmah, who is now spending his second new year’s eve behind bars. PSCC’s media coordinator, my friend and brother in struggle, Israeli activist Jonathan Pollak, will also be going to prison, again, for three months on January 11th, for protesting Israel’s siege on Gaza.
We are all facing tremendous challenges, as individuals and as a movement. It is our pride and strength that keeps us going. It is your support and involvement, which is becoming more crucial than ever. Join us – take our struggle forward, so that the year of 2011 will become an historical year of Palestinian liberation and a just peace.