Military Court Convicts West Bank Palestinian Activist of Incitement

Abdullah Abu Rahmeh is one of the main leaders of the weekly protests in the Palestinian village of Bilin against Israel's separation fence.

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An Israeli military court convicted on Tuesday a prominent Palestinian activist for incitement and organizing illegal demonstrations against Israel's separation fence in the West Bank.

Abdullah Abu Rahmeh is one of the main leaders of the weekly protests against the fence, serving as the coordinator for the "Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall." He will likely be sentenced next month, his lawyer Gaby Lasky said.

A Palestinian protester throws stones at Israeli troops, during a protest against Israel's separation fence in the West Bank village of Bilin on Aug. 6, 2010.Credit: AP

Abu Rahmeh led marches from the Palestinian village of Bil'in to the nearby fence that cuts off 60 percent of the village's land. The protests often turn violent with protesters throwing rocks at soldiers, who in turn fire tear gas and sometimes rubber bullets in efforts to contain the crowd.

The village of Bil'in has become the symbol of the struggle against the separation fence, serving as the site of dozens of joint Palestinian-Israeli demonstrations in recent years.

Earlier this year, a military court decided not to investigate the death of Bassem Abu Rahmeh, who was killed by a tear gas canister during a Bilin protest on April 17, 2009. The military released a statement saying that they did not find enough material to substantiate the claim that the tear gas canister was aimed and fired directly at Abu Rahmeh.

Israel says the fence is crucial to keep out attackers. Palestinians call it a land grab as it juts into large chunks of the West Bank which they claim as part of a future state.

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