18 April 2009
The status quo of Azzun – a town with 12.000 inhabitants – is miserable and is getting worse in the distant future. Three big settlements were partly built on Azzun land so that the current city center is now circumscribed from the east, west and north western side. In addition to that there are plans for two new settler-only roads to be built. After completion of the roads Azzun will be completely isolated and surrounded by settlements and settler-only roads.
Azzun consists of approximately 9130 dunams. When the first outpost near Azzun was built, land belonging to the Palestinian Authority and to farmers of Azzun was taken. The first settlement was Qarne Shomron built in 1977 on the eastern part of Azzun. Maale Shomron was established in 1980 to the east of Azzun and Alfei Menashe took was built on the west of Azzun.
Azzun inhabitants suffer from acute water shortages. There are two big springs which supply Azzoun and Jayyus. The pipe system was constructed before 67 and now because the population has grown it has to be renewed in order to satisfy needs. To meet this demand Azzun receives water from Israeli Mekorot.
The villages An Nabi Elyas, Mahattat Tahseen Mansur and Izbat at Tabib which belong to Azzun are no longer recognized by the Israeli government. Inhabitants from these villages were forced to move to Azzun when Israel built two new roads on their land. Both of these roads are settler-only roads (55 and 531) which connect the settlement areas east and west of Azzun.
Israeli authorities are planning changes to road 55 which leads from Azzun to Nablus. This road will be enlarged to 200m and will be called 531 whilst becoming a settler-only road. In addition there are plans for the road 55 to link two big settlements and it will be accompanied by a barrier so that Azzun will be completely encircled by settlers or their roads.
The harassment towards villagers of these three Palestinian villages has already started. They are completely disfranchised paying taxes without having any rights any more. Whilst controlling their IDs soldiers are telling villagers that their villages do not exist anymore and that from now on the would belong to Azzun.