Bil’in village continues legal battle

June 27th, 2009 | Posted in Boycott, Canada, Palestine, Quebec
    Bil’in village continues battle against Israeli settlements in Quebec courts

    Photo: Valerian Mazataud. Mohamed Khatib from Bil’in, Palestine.

Bil’in village’s legal battle against two Quebec-based companies for constructing Israeli settlements on Palestinian land continues.

After a week of hearings at the Quebec Superior Court, Bil’in’s lawsuit is now being considered by Justice Louis-Paul Cullen. A response from the judge is expected in the upcoming months.

“Bil’in’s case was fully argued, the illegality of Israeli settlements under international and Canadian law was clearly outlined,” outlines Bil’in’s Canadian lawyer Mark Arnold.

“The judge was fair minded and balanced during the hearings and we are confident that justice is on our side,” explained Mark Arnold outside the Palais de justice de Montréal.

If the village of Bil’in is successful in its lawsuit, an important legal precedent would be created which would hold corporations accountable globally when they participate in war crimes.

Green Park International and Green Mount International, two Quebec registered companies are constructing illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land in defiance of international law, a war crime under the 4th Geneva Convention and Canada’s Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act.

“The Quebec Superior Court has a tall order before it, in the sense that if it allows the case to go forward it will be setting an important legal precedent about corporate accountability for violations of international law,” explains Emily Schaeffer, an Israeli lawyer representing the village of Bil’in. “We believe that granting jurisdiction to hear the case in the Quebec court is the correct and only just decision to make.”

Bil’in’s lawsuit comes within the context of the popular protests undertaken by the village on a weekly basis for over four years against the ongoing construction of the Israeli apartheid wall and Israeli settlements on Bil’in’s lands.

Until today the Israeli military has killed eighteen Palestinians in the popular protests against the wall, killings of peaceful protesters which have gone widely underreported in the western media.

“Bil’in is waiting impatiently for the decision from the judge, hoping that the decision is positive,” explained Abdullah Abu Rahme of Bil’in’s Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements who was attending the court hearings in Montreal, “Our efforts in Bil’in to halt all construction of all Israeli settelments on our lands will continue. We will also continue rejecting the Israeli occupation with our weekly demonstrations against the apartheid wall in Bil’in until we have won all our rights as Palestinian people.”

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