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Occupation on Trial – Palestinian village sues Canadian corporations for building illegal Israeli settlements

May 30, 2009

Cross Canada Tour

Saturday June 13, 2009 at 7:30pm
Trinity St. Paul′s United Church
427 Bloor St. West, Toronto

MOHAMMAD KHATIB – member of the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements
EMILY SCHAEFFER – Israeli lawyer representing the village of Bil′in
MARK ARNOLD – Canadian legal counsel to Bil′in

Bil′in is a Palestinian village that is struggling to survive. It is fighting to safeguard its land, its olive trees, its resources… its liberty.

Since 2005, the people of Bil'in have been demonstrating non-violently against the building of settlements and the separation wall on their land. Villagers have led weekly protests with the active participation from both Israeli and international peace activists. Bil'in has become an internationally celebrated symbol of Palestinian popular non-violent resistance to the ongoing construction of the Israeli separation wall. In constructing the wall, Israel will annex and colonize almost 60% of Bil'in's land. In Bil′in, the wall consists of a system of fences, security roads and cameras stretching 50 metres in width; in other areas of the West Bank the wall towers over eight metres high and is fortified by armed military watchtowers.

The Fourth Geneva Convention (to which Canada is a signatory), as well as Canada's own Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, prohibit occupying forces from establishing settlements at the expense of indigenous populations. In the West Bank, the Israeli authorities have intensified their efforts especially in the Jerusalem area, through house evictions, systematic killings, detentions, settlement building and the construction of the separation wall. Through an elaborate control system of more than 600 military checkpoints, land confiscation and blockades and hundreds of military orders of house demolitions, Israel is actively creating facts on the ground that render any peaceful resolution of the conflict impossible. Facing this painful reality, the Palestinian people continue and develop their popular resistance to protect their basic rights to life and freedom and to realize their aspirations for a peaceful future.

In a landmark lawsuit, the farming village of Bil'in has brought legal proceedings in Montreal, Quebec, against two Canadian corporations for violating both international and Canadian domestic law by acting as agents for Israel in constructing buildings to serve as housing for Israeli civilians in the West Bank, an area that is internationally recognized as territory occupied as a result of war.

The two Canadian corporations, Green Park International Inc. and Green Mount International Inc., have brought dismissal motions before the Quebec Superior Court on the issue of jurisdiction. The motions will be heard at the Courthouse in Montreal starting June 22, 2009. The claim alleges that "the corporations actions are aiding, abetting, assisting and conspiring with Israel, the Occupying Power in the West Bank, in carrying out an illegal act."

Organized by: Ad Hoc Bil'in Tour Organizing Committee
Sponsored by: Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), Near East Cultural and Educational Foundation of Canada (NECEF), Palestine House, and Independent Jewish Voices (IJV)

For more information:

National Post: Palestinian village sues Canadian contractors

CBC report about legal proceedings in Quebec – Canada (October 7, 2008)

Photo Gallery of Bil'in village non-violent resistance:

A letter from Mohammad Khatib honouring slain Palestinian Bassam Ibrahim Abou Rahme

Photos: Solidarity with Bil'in in Montreal

Palestine: Bil'in international conference closing statement

It takes a village: Montreal's ties to illegal Israeli settlement Hour (Montreal)

For more information contact:
Sandra Ruch
Phone: 416-716-4010

For information about the Cross-Canada Tour contact:
Smadar Carmon
Phone: 416-255-8032

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