The Closure of Northern Azzun’s remaining entrances
The Israeli Occupation Authorities continued for the second week of February 2008 closing the entrance of Northern Azzun located to the east of Qalqilyah City with earth mounds. Beginning of February 2008, the IOF closed the northern entrance of Azzun town under the pretext of protecting Israeli settlers using bypass road No. 55 sited nearby the town. IOF not only closed the northern entrance of the town but also closed the western and eastern entrances of the town aiming at protecting settlers of Ma'aleh Shemron settlement adjacent to the western entrance of the town. Azzun town is left with only one entrance from its southern part which connects the town with Kufar Thulth village; as a result, the town is being suffocated and the lives of people became intolerable.
(Photo 1: the western entrance of Azzun town that was closed by the Israeli Authorities,
in which Ma'aleeh Shemron settlement appears)
Wash away works at the northern entrance of Azzun:
On the second week of February, the Israeli occupation authorities started washing away works at the southern entrance of Azzun in step aiming to change the features of the southern entrance, as it signs that the occupation authorities intended to place a permanent barrier at the entrance of the town to control citizens' movements in the east north villages in Qalqilyah Governorate (Northern Azzun, Kufar Thulth, Seneiria, 'Asla) through the suggested military barrier that connect these villages with street No. 60.
(Photo 2: Israeli occupation patrol coexist at the northern entrance of Azzun which is closed with soil blocks)
Washing out wide areas of Azzun lands:
On the 16th of February 2008, the Israeli occupation authorities washed out wide areas of agricultural lands of Northern Azzun town adjacent to street No. 55, 4 meters long and 20 meters wide, for the purpose of building a wall that separates between the town and street No. 55 in order to have full control over the town, for which the occupation authorities placed a separation wall between the town's lands and street No. 55, noting that washing out works destroyed not less than 80 dunums totally of towns' agricultural lands, in addition to that the Israeli occupation authorities closed all the agricultural roads leading to town's agricultural lands.
(Photo 3: Israeli occupation forces putting a barbed wire around Azzun agricultural lands)
These occupation's unprecedented steps have the extreme negative affect on the lives of the Palestinians from the town and the neighboring towns, mainly in:
1. Difficulties in movement and interconnection of the town's inhabitants with northern villages and with Qalqilyah city in particular, because of the closure of all the town's entrances, except through soil roads found on the side of the town, which take a role in increasing the financial burden at the town's habitants, in additional to body and psycho logic burden especially for old and ill people.
2. It is notified that Northern Azzun's location beside colonial street No. 55 that leads to 1948 occupied territories to the west, put the town on the focus of attraction of many tradesmen and investors, as the town is full of customers from 1948 areas specially on Saturdays from each week, and by closing the northern entrance of the town by soil blocks the interconnection of Inside Arab with the town became very difficult, which weaken it's commercial markets and threatened of raising the unemployment percentage and increasing the poverty percentage.
3. It is notified that the Israeli occupation authorities closed the agricultural roads and caused a humanitarian and agricultural disasters in the region, as the interaction of the town's inhabitants with their agricultural lands became very difficult, and the occupation obtain the legality from that these lands are closed military areas and Palestinians are not allowed to reach them.
4. From another side, the occupation authority continued invading the town with military patrols, fire shooting and sound bombing randomly occurred against the houses, plus torturing the passing by people and invading the commercial shops and beating its owners, as it is notified that the occupation authorities during the past few days invaded the town's schools and threw sound bombs against them, in a step that is aiming to terrified students, and after that it invaded the commercial shops as electrical equipment shop for Mr. Mufeed Hassan Shabeeta, grocery for Mr. Mustafa As'ad Odwan, while Israeli soldiers beaten with brutality the owners of these shops and damaged the contents on the pretext of searching for wanted people, these actions are classified as spreading fear and terrify inside the soul of the town's inhabitants beside fighting them in their income and constricting their life ways.
In an affidavit of the Secretary of Azzun Municipality Mr. Majed Odwan (34 years) to the field researcher at Land and Research Center: 'There are 11 cancer cases at Northern Azzun town, plus 4 kidney wash cases, as these cases required frequent transportation for medication, and the closure process of town's entrances will cause humanitarian disasters in the town, in addition to the economical problems, as the town's economy depends mainly on commerce with Arab of 48, because of the location of the town at street No. 55 directed to inside the Green Line'.
It's worth to mention here that the occupation authorities had closed Azzun town's entrances for several times and this is not the first time, as it were closed totally between the years (2001 – 2004). The occupation authorities regularly intended to constrict on the town's inhabitants because of it's location near the Green Line, and its adjacent to Ma'aleeh Shemron Settlements band. A death case is registered at Azzun Town when the occupation authorities prohibited the inhabitant Amneh Idrees Mustafa Abu Baker (61 years) from reaching the hospital because of closing the town with soil blocks from one side and putting military barriers from the other side, as the lady was suffering from heart disease and she died in her way at the town's entrance as a result of the delay in reaching the hospital,.
It is notified that inhabitant Amneh Idrees and others of the humanitarian cases died at military barriers are considered as clear evidence at the occupation savageness and non obligation to the humanitarian conventions under the hearing and sighting of the international community that didn't show up any reaction at these cases and other humanitarian cases.
Demolition notice for Park of Azzun Town:
The Israeli authorities warned of demolition for the town's park for the second time consecutively, the first time was in 2006 particularly in August, and threatened them verbally for the second time at the beginning of February 2008, noting that the occupation authorities rejected the permit papers definitely without any reasons, claiming that the Park is placed in an area classified C. The Park has a children playground and a place for families and visitors to sit down and it is funded by the American Agency for International Development USAID, and it was established because no other family parks existed in Azzun town.
(Photo 5: Part of the general playground for Azoun town's Park threatened with demolition)
(Photo 6: Warning received by Azzun Municipality in 2006)
General Information about Azzun Town:
Azzun Town is located at the road linked between Nablus and Qalqilyah cities and known as street No. 55, 23 Km far to the west of Nablus city, 9 Km to the east of Qalqilyah city, and it is also placed at the extended road between Qalqilyah and Tulkarem, 22 km far to the south of Tulkarem city, and it is connected to Ramallah city through a paved road extended to the south to Kufar Thuluth, Masha, Deir Ballout and Bir Zeit villages, which it was a military road at Jordan's period, and in this way Azzun intermediated a large number of villages:
North: Seir, Jayyous, Kufur Jamal, Kufur Abboush, Kufur Zeibad, Kufur Sour.
South: Kufur Thuluth, Seneirya, Masha, Bedya, Azzawyeh.
West: Annabi Elyas, 'Asla.
East: Kufur Laqef, Jeinsafout, Hejeh, Baqet Al-hatab, Amateen, Fara'tah, Jeit, Kufur Qadoum, Sourah.
(Photo 7: General view for Azzun Town)
Three settlements existed on the lands of Northern Azzun Town, and it is very difficult to decide about the total areas confiscated for building these settlements from the town, as these settlements are distributed at more than a village and a town, anyway the settlements are:
Ma'aleeh Shamroun (established in 1980, the total area is 1903 dunums, the building area is 216 dunums, No. of settlers till 2004 were 549 settlers).
Ghanat Shamroun (established in 1985, the building area 484 dunums).
Karni Shamroun (established in 1978, the municipality area is 7339 dunums, the building area is about 1351 dunums, No. of settlers till 2005 were about 6270 settlers).
The Land Research Center