Palestinian activists from Bil’in village say the Israeli military has raided their village almost daily this week. They claim the early morning raids are linked to a recent lawsuit filed by the village in the Quebec Superior Court.
Last month Bil’in launched the lawsuit against two Montreal-based companies, Green Park International and Green Mount International, claiming they played a role in building Israeli-only settlements on Palestinian lands in Bil’in, an act they say is illegal under international law and under Canada’s Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, established in 2000.
"Israel’s military raids began exactly at the same time that we started court hearings in Canada," says Mohammed Khatib of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Bil’in. "Israel’s army raids are aiming to stop our struggle, and our court case in Quebec. Israel is collectively punishing us for our efforts to resist [the] Israeli colonization of our lands."
According to eyewitness accounts captured on video (such as www.youtube.com/user/haithmkatib), Israeli soldiers have been entering Bil’in with heavy weaponry to target Palestinian youth who attend regular demonstrations against Israel’s "separation wall," built on Palestinian lands in the West Bank.
"Israeli military forces have arrested nine Palestinian youths this week, some of whom are still in prison," says Khatib from Bil’in. "These Palestinian youths have not been charged with anything. This clear detention of Palestinian children without charge is illegal under international law."
An initial ruling on the Bil’in lawsuit in the Quebec Superior Court is still pending. Justice Louis-Paul Cullen is expected to rule within the next six months. Palestinians in the village are bracing for further Israeli raids.
For more information, visit www.bilin-village.org.