The latest news from Bil’in: Haitham Al Khatib was arrested while filming at today’s demonstration, held on the anniversary of the Deir Yassin massacre. Details below.
I’m reminded of the story Haitham told me when I asked about the deep scar between his eyebrows. The thing to keep in mind is that all of the soldiers know Haitham and Hamde Abo, the Bil’in photographer: they are the dynamic duo that arrives on scene to document each and every night raid. It’s the same soldiers day in and day out, so Haitham and Hamde can recognize familiar eyes and mouths beneath the masks. (This is how Hamde describes the faces of the IDF: "I know the soldiers like my brother.") So one day Haitham was taking photographs at the weekly demonstration. A soldier told Haitham to stop, or else: he’d shoot him in the head. Haitham didn’t stop, and so the soldier shot him between the eyes with a rubber-coated steel bullet, fracturing his skull. When Haitham was released from the hospital, he was back at the wall each Friday with his camera–just as he’ll be back at the wall when or if he’s ever released from Israeli military detention.
Hamde Abo reports:
…As demonstrators reached the barrier soldiers began firing tear gas at the crowd. At one point soldiers used a cannon that shoots 30 canisters of gas at once to disperse the crowd.
Soldiers also used live ammunition and rubber coated bullets against non-violent demonstrators today. Soldiers entered the village thru the gate in the barrier and attempted to arrest many of the demonstrators. Palestinian Journalist and videographer Haitham Al Khatib from Bil’in was arrested while documenting the demonstration and army incursion.
Haitham works with the Israeli human rights information center B’tselem as well as with the local Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements. Haitham returned to the village yesterday from a three-week tour in Europe where he was showing his latest film “Life on Wheels”. The film looks at occupation in Bil’in through the experience of Jody McIntire an International activist from the EU.