Abdullah Abu Rahmeh
In 2002, Palestinian protesters were getting so violent against Israelis that a fence had to be built by Israel to shield Israeli citizens against attackers. In some places it is a wall; in other places a wire fence.
Abdullah Abu Rahmah was a 39 year old schoolteacher from the village of Bil'in in Judea/Samaria "West Bank". Since 2005 they have been demonstrating against this wall of protection called a security barrier because it keeps them from a direct path to their fields, and causes an inconvenience. So did stone throwing and rioting against Israelis.
Every Friday from 2005, Rahmah led a group of villagers in a parade carrying flags and placards while they chanted slogans along with the intrigued international and Israeli activists to the barrier. I have learned that the chants are not nice at all. They're about taking over israel. the international people would not understand Arabic and had no idea what was being said. Of course, at the end of the parade were the Israeli IDF wearing riot gear that they had learned was necessary to wear in these events. They were prepared to meet force with tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper spray and arrests if necessary.
A year ago Rahmah was arrested and was told he was to serve a year in prison and his time would be up by November 18, 2010. Why? He was a leader and was arrested for incitement and organizing an illegal demonstration. He was also charged with stone-throwing and arms possession. The defense tried to make a point that there was no proof of the latter accusations. He served in Ofer Military Prison.
The army just extended his stay in prison by 4 months saying it was because they felt that he would go back to "inciting" again if he were released.
He sounds like a case any defense would love to work with. He's married and the father of 3, and a schoolteacher. He seems to stand for unarmed resistance to the security barrier and has raised international awareness, which is easy to do nowdays. Anything against Israel attracts the international community who climb aboard the bus.
The Oregonian newspaper even mentions today that the European Union foreign policy chief, Lady Catherine Ashton, "deplores" the continued imprisonment of prominent Palestinian activist Rahmeh whose belief is that Palestinians have the right to engage in peaceful demonstrations.
I say that most likely these demonstration have never been peaceful. Both Palestinians and Israelis can become highly emotional and excitable, and no doubt these are. I'd like Ms. Ashton to come on down and keep the group peaceful without causing a riot or throwing stones at the IDF. It's not easy to be a teacher nowdays and keep a class quiet let alone angry demonstrators chanting hate slogans.
Since Rahmeh was arrested, no doubt the court system has investigated the case and found that Rahmeh was quite the leader and is afraid he will instigate the group more. Perhaps they have been fairly quiet since he has been in prison.
I worked with teen agers in a Residential Treatment Center who were judicated by the courts to be there. It was like being in prison only continuing their education and getting counseling and learning new habits, for they were there as sex offenders. A system was in force whereas they were rewarded for good behavior with outings such as roller skating, movies, and such. Their behaviors were monitored throughout the week and demerits were given for problems they caused. I'm wondering if Rahmeh didn't do a few things that caused a demerit system which added on months after the year he was sentenced. He sounds like a nice guy, but in this situation, one never knows.
Israel is up against a lot of problems and is trying to solve them. Very few people in these positions are American citizens with American training. They've been attacked and hated since they were born and are prepared for the worst. We as Americans or Europeans cannot imagine what Israelis have been through. We must walk in their shoes to see what it's like to be amidst neighbors who are out for your destruction. Their children have to be in an ROTC program in high school and serve in the army. Ours don't. Life is quite different. Men serve every year for a month until they are 55. If the IDF is concerned about his release, they have to have good reason.
How about Lady Catherine Ashton and her friends doing something about Israel's soldier who was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists, Gilad Shallit. Has anyone other than Israelis begged and pleaded for his release? I don't think so. He's been held as a hostage since June 25, 2006 by Hamas terrorists. That'll be 5 years in June. I wouldn't be surprised if there's no outside protesting going on about him. I know his wife and parents have been doing most of it.Oregonian Newspaper 1/23/11 page A11 Image on Facebook gets a Palestinian in trouble
I'm glad to hear that Abdullah Abu Rahmah is known to others as a peaceful fellow. He's got to prove it. I'm a teacher, too, and know that we have the ability to sway our people and classes. If he really is on the road to peace and feels he's another Ghandi, more power to him. He just shouldn't incite violence and get arrested. He could find peaceful channels like meetings with the powers that be like the court systems, attorneys, chairmen, mayors, etc. He could cut out the protests that cause harm, because that's not getting the fence to come down or bringing on a peaceful atmosphere between the two peoples.