IDF: Palestinian nonviolent protest is an ideological crime

Abdullah Abu Rahmah has a sentencing hearing in military court after being convicted of standing in front of an IDF bulldozer. The nonviolent protest organizer from Bil’in who already served more than a year in prison has been declared a ‘human rights defender’ by the European Union.


By Yael Marom


Abdullah Abu Rahman (left) in Ofer Military Court with his attorneys, Gaby Lasky and Muhammad Khatib, February 8, 2015. (Photo by Oren Ziv/


Diplomats from the European Union, Sweden, France, the UK, Finland and Spain were present at a sentencing hearing for Palestinian non-violent Palestinian protest leader Abdullah Abu Rahmah at Ofer Military Prison in the West Bank on Sunday, along with dozens of Palestinian, international and Israeli activists. Abu Rahmah is a central figure in the popular struggle protests in the West Bank village Bil’in, as well as in the rest of the West Bank, and has been recognized by the European Union as a “human rights defender” dedicated to nonviolence.


In 2010 +972 Magazine chose Abu Rahmah as its Person of the Year for his role in raising the international profile of the grassroots Palestinian nonviolent protest movement, and the harm of the separation barrier.


In October 2014, a military court convicted Abu Rahmah of obstructing the work of a soldier for trying to stop a bulldozer that was constructing the separation barrier in the Beitunia area near Ramallah in May 2012. Abu Rahmah was taken in for interrogation at the time, but was later released on bail. The fact that the police did not see fit to extend his interrogation, keep him in jail or impose restrictive conditions on his release, did not prevent the army from indicting and convicting Abu Rahmah.


At Abu Rahmah’s sentencing hearing took place on Sunday the military prosecutor demanded a harsh punishment consisting of a long prison sentence and a large fine. She further claimed that Abu Rahmah is somebody who commits ideological crimes, thus his chance for rehabilitation is low and he must be given a punishment that will deter him from doing similar things in the future.


In a statement released after the hearing, Abu Rahmah said his trial is proof that the army is punishing him for his nonviolent resistance. He stated that there are many young Palestinians who are jailed for the exact same reasons, constituting a blatant violation of their human rights. “I will be sentenced on February 23,” said Abu Rahmah. “All this is happening because I want freedom and justice, for the security and peace of the Palestinians. All we want is to liberate our land.”


Abdullah Abu Rahmah in Ofer Military Court, February 8, 2015. (Photo by Oren Ziv/