Yesterday, 11th October at 7 pm, a group of settlers of the illegal settlement of Tel Rumeida surrounded the entrance of the Azzeh family property and built a wire fence to block the exit. Young settlers fixed the fence in place using plastic cable ties.
Hashem Azzeh and his family were about to leave the house when they found the gate blocking their way and the settlers confronted them saying they couldn’t go out that way any more. A group of Israeli soldiers were present but did not stop the action.
Two international activists arrived on the scene and were surrounded by settlers and physically and verbally attacked by them, one of them had water thrown over his camera and another was kicked. An international journalist also present was hospitalized after a settler threw bleach into her eyes. After more international activists arrived, they managed to remove the fence. Despite multiple appeals to the Israeli soldiers to prevent the settler violence by both the Azzeh family and the international activists, they took no action. Jewish Defense League leader Baruch Marzel, was left free to verbally attack Hashem Azzeh.
The Azzeh family has long been a target of settler intimidation and harassment. Last Thursday during the night settlers trespassed on the Azzeh family property and stole about 400 Kilos of olives from 40 olive trees. Hashem Azzeh had been prevented from starting his olive harvest pending a permit from the Israeli Civil Administration. Four days after his olive trees had been raided, he was suddenly informed by the administration that he should start his harvest immediately, but unfortunately he doesn’t have any olive trees left.