“By extending Abdallah Abu Rahma’s sentence the Israeli authorities appear to be seeking not only to punish him further in a case where the prosecution’s evidence was questionable to begin with, but to deter others from participating in legitimate protests,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
The story of Abdallah Abu Rahma is typical of the many Palestinians who attempt to bring change to their communities through peaceful means. They don’t get a lot of attention here in the United States, but Rahma, like other activists, is an important man in the West Bank village of Bil’in.
He is a teacher. As we have written earlier, Rahma is warm and articulate, the kind of spokesman who brings home the deep, divisive impact the wall/fence is creating on many Palestinian communities. As head of the Popular Committee Against the Wall, he is well known to Amnesty International as a political activist with a long-term public commitment to using peaceful means to raise international awareness of the human rights violations.
He has won court rulings that would reroute the wall in his community, but the orders have been ignored by the military. He has held regular peaceful demonstrations against the wall, but his work is met with spurious charges based on retracted claims of children, and conviction after an unfair trial in military court. This is the lot given to non-violent Palestinian activists.
Amnesty International has made Rahma a prisoner of conscience and is calling for his immediate and unconditional release.
Here are two additional recent statements on Abdallah Abu Rahma and non-violent Palestinian activists.