At around 3:00am tonight, a large military force invaded the village of Ni'ilin to stage mass arrests of residents suspected of participating in demonstrations against the Wall. During the incursion, over ten houses were raided and ransacked.
Tonight's raid is the 13th staged in the village since 16 December. In this period alone, 16 of the village's residents have been detained on various charges relating to anti-Wall protests, including three prominent organizers last Wednesday. Since May 2008, when demonstrations in the village began, 106 arrests of Palestinian anti-Wall activists have been made in Ni'ilin.
The arrests today are an escalation of an ongoing and extensive Israeli attempt to suppress the Palestinian popular resistance. Similar raids to the ones conducted in Ni'ilin have also been conducted in the village of Bil'in – where 34 residents have been arrested in the past six months, and the cities of Nablus, Ramallah and East Jerusalem.
Among those arrested in the recent campaign are also five members of the Bil'in Popular Committee, all suspected of incitement, and include Adeeb Abu Rahmah - who is already held in detention for over six months, and Abdallah Abu Rahmah – the Bil'in Popular Committee coordinator.
Prominent grassroots activists Jamal Jum'a (East Jerusalem) and Mohammed Othman (Jayyous) of the Stop the Wall NGO, involved in anti-Wall and boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigning, have recently been released from detention after being incarcerated for long periods based on secret evidence and with no charges brought against them.
Mohammed Khatib, coordinator of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee said that "The arrests and persecution will not break our spirit. They are afraid because our movement of simple, unarmed civilians sheds light on their violence, on the injustice of the occupation. No prison wall could hide this truth”.