The village of Azzoun was invaded once again by the Israeli Army on Friday 23rd November. Two international Human Rights Workers (HRWs) were beaten and had their cameras stolen as they attempted to document the incursion.
At approximately 11am soldiers entered the village, shooting sound bombs and firing live ammunition. They continued in this manner through the streets in a clear attempt to intimidate the local population. When approached by the two HRW’s and questioned as to the reason for the invasion, one soldier replied, “This is Israeli land…This is Jewish land. Go away”. He then asked the HRWs whether they understood the term ‘Shoot To Kill’, advising that this was the policy under which they were operating.
As the HRWs refused to leave the area and continued to document the proceedings, the soldiers became increasingly threatening, with one soldier saying, “We have been nice. Soon we will not be nice”. Upon repeated questioning one of the soldiers claimed that the army were searching the village for the suspect in the shooting of a settler that took place near the village of Al-Funduq on the night of Monday 19th November.
The soldiers then proceeded to lead the HRWs up a quiet side street where upon command the seven soldiers swiftly turned, split up and grabbed the HRWs, punching and kicking one and wrestling the other to the ground, stealing their cameras. The commander of the team then aggressively pointed his machine gun at the heads of the HRWs, telling them to go away.
This is but one incident in a spate of repressive measures being levelled at the village of Azzoun and others in the Qalqilya region, that includes ongoing curfews, army invasions, mass arrests and road closures.
These actions are suspected to be part of a strategy to garner High Court approval for a four kilometre wall to be built along the highway from Izbat Al Tabib to Kafr Laqif – a wall that will effectively seal the main gate of Azzoun forever and impede travel for Palestinians throughout the region – for which the markings already exist. Locals fear that Israeli army repression will continue in the village of Azzoun in order to fulfil this aim.
As shown by the robbery of HRWs filming the incursion, the army clearly don’t want evidence of their activities being made public.