Increased Israeli Harassment Policy against Palestinian Students in the Village of Azzun Al Atma

Increased Israeli Harassment Policy against Palestinian Students in the Village of Azzun Al Atma

With the beginning of the new school year, the agony and suffering of the students of the village of Beit Amin is renewed. There is no high school in the village which is located southeast of the city of Qalqilia. As such, 45 of Beit Amin students find themselves obliged to go to Azzun Al Atma to attend high school through the only gate in the Israeli Racist Isolation Wall which isolates Azzun Al Atma from its immediate Palestinian environs.


In tandem with the start of the new school year, Israeli occupation authorities have unveiled a new policy regarding the passage of Beit Amin students through the gate. The new policy stipulates that students must be searched in a specially-designated room located 20 meters west of the Azzun Al Atma gate.



Photo 1: Israeli soldiers check Palestinian IDs at Azzun Al Atma checkpoint.


The new policy had a negative effect in the psyche of the students as they see and hear on daily basis the humiliation and physical beatings committed by Israeli soldiers against Palestinians leaving and entering through the aforementioned gate. The implementation of the policy (which started in September 2008) forced the students to empty their school bags on daily basis for soldiers to “check” them. This new procedure has led to repeated delays in school arrival. Moreover, the fact that the high school is adjacent to the colony of Sha’ari Betekva raises the chances of being attacked by colonists or that the educational process might be interrupted for any lame excuse.


Photo 2: Traffic jam caused by the military checkpoint at Azzun Al Atma


The year 2008 has witnessed a number of incidents which negatively affected the educational process in Azzun Al Atma. The most famous incident took place in April 2008 when Israeli occupation soldiers manning Azzun Al Atma checkpoint at 7:00 PM prevented 4 school buses filled with students from accessing Azzun Al Atama for “security reasons.” The situation at the checkpoint became so intense that Israeli soldiers shot rubber bullets towards school students and physically beat several of them. A number of the students were transported to the hospital to receive the appropriate care as a result of the Israeli soldiers’ behavior.


On the other hand, Israeli occupation forces compelled all members of the teaching staff to perform prior coordination with these forces before being allowed to cross through the gate. As such, all the employees of the Palestinian directorate of education, including the supervisees, are currently forced to get prior coordination to access Azzun Al Atma. That is despite the intervention of UNICEF and other international and national rights’ groups to stop this policy.


General Information about Azzun Al Atma Village:

The village is located 3 kilometers east of the Green Line in Qalqilia governorate. Its population is about 1750, 80% of which work in the agricultural sector. An additional 15% work inside Israel while 5% work in either the public sector or in commercial activities.


The village is surrounded by the colony of Sha’ari Betekva from its eastern and northern directions. Some of houses in the colony almost touch the Palestinian houses in the village. The colony is surrounded by a series of fences and barbwires that separates it from Azzun Al Atma. The colony was established atop 1500 dunums confiscated from the Palestinian villages of Azzun Al Atma, Sinirya, Beit Amin and Al Zawiya.


Photo 3: The colony of Sha’ari Betekva


The village is also surrounded by colony of Oranit from its western direction. The colony was established in 1983 atop 2,000 dunums of Palestinian lands. This colony is also surrounded by a series of fences and barbwires, which means that Azzun Al Atama is a closed village from three directions. Access to the village was allowed since 1981 only through the main gate of each of the two colonies. Israeli soldiers manning the gates do not allow any Palestinian to go through the gate unless heshe holds a special permit.



Prepared by:
The Land Research Center

Categories: Israeli Violations