The Israeli occupation army issued a new military order in the second half of last October stating the confiscation of at least 389.5 dunums ( one dunum equals 1000 M2) from the lands of the two villages of Siniriya and Az Zawiya inside the occupied West Bank and the land of the town of Kafr Qasem inside the green line. The order aims at establishing a new besieging Wall ( appears in purple color in the attached map) to circumvent the village of Azzun Atme and separate it from the surrounding colonies despite the fact that the village is already exists inside the main Segregation Wall path in which the construction was completed last March ( appears in red color in the attached map).
The threatened areas according to the new military order number T/14/07 are located in basins number 4,5,7,89 of Siniriya land and basin number 4 of Az Zawiya land, in addition to other basins of Kafr Qasem land whose number are not mentioned in the military order.
(Photos 1 + 2 : new military order and its attached map)
In case this plan was implemented it means the completion of the Israeli scheme to totally separating the village from its Palestinian environs in the West Bank and from the Arab towns in Israel by putting it inside a closed canton surrounded by two walls and four colonies whose total population reaches at least 12000 colonists.
Last March, the occupation authorities completed work at the main Segregation Wall that runs from the north western part of the village and annexed within its borders the colonies of Oranit, Share Tiqva, Ets Efrayem, Elkana and Giva'at Heroshim as well as the bypass road number 505 which links these colonies with Israel proper.
Background to Azzun Atmeh
The village of Azzun Atma is a Palestinian village that was occupied in 1967 and is located 3 kilometers away from the Green Line. Its population is about 1890 individual, 80% of whom work in the agriculture sector while 15% work inside Israel. The remaining population work in the Palestinian public sector and in commerce. The village total land area is 8081 dunums and its built up area is 798 dunums. See Map 2
The surrounding colonies
The village is surrounded by four colonies as followed:
Sha'ari Tiqva colony from both the eastern and northern directions (established in 1982, its population in 2005 was 3709, its built up area is 915 dunums and its municipal area is 1045 dunums- Source: Foundation For the Middle East Peace). It confiscated more than 1000 dunums from the lands of the village as well as lands of the villages of Sinirya, Masha, Beit Amin and Al Zawiya.
Oranit colony from the western direction ( established in 1984. In 2005, its total population was 5585, while its built up and municipal area is 878 dunums (Source: ibid).
Elkana colony from the south eastern side ( established in 1977, its municipal area is 1198 dunums, built up area is 758 dunums and its population in 2005 was 2963 settlers (Source: ibid).
Ets Efrayem colony from the eastern side of the village between the colonies of Sha'ari Tiqva and Elkana ( established in 1985, its population in 2005 was 624 settlers, its municipal area is 458 dunums and its built up area is 184 dunums (Source: ibid).
The Closure of Village Entrances:
Israeli occupation forces started to erect the first section of the Segregation Wall (from the village of Salem to the village of Masha) in the year 2002. As a result, the entirety of the village of Azzun Atma was isolated inside of the Wall and surrounded by barbwires and fences from all directions.
At the end of October 2003 the Israeli military checkpoint operating at the gate located north of the Wall became fully functional and it became the main entry point to the village. Palestinians are allowed to cross through the gate between 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM in accordance with the Israeli conditions which allow residents of the village to cross without needing a special permit. As for non-residents, they are obligated to get special valid permits issued by the Israeli 'Civil' Administration to gain access to the village and work in their lands.
Impacts of the existing Segregation wall on the village
The Wall has significantly negatively impacted all aspects of life in Azzun Atme as followed:
It (and the Israeli military procedures associated with it) prevented tens of Palestinian farmers and land owners from reaching their lands;
It made it difficult for the students to reach their school easily;
It has impeded the continuation of social ties between families and relatives in the village and nearby villages under the guise of 'Israeli security.' We ask here what kind of security is that which prevents residents from living their normal life? What kind of security is that which prevents children less than 16 years of age from entering their village and place of residence unless accompanied with one of their parents or to bring a certificate that shows that he/she is a resident of the village? It's been documented on a number of occasions that a number of children below the age of 16 have been prevented from entering the village for more than an hour until one of their parents showed up with a piece of paper indicating that the child is actually residing in the village before he/she were released.
In addition, the Wall has brought with it great suffering and control over every aspect of Palestinian life 24 hours a day. For example, no Palestinian resident of Azzun Atme is allowed to transport any emergency medical cases out of the village after 10:00 PM. As such, a number of women gave birth at the gates of the village or while waiting in the car for the gate to open. In short, life in Azzun Atme in the shadow of the Wall has become a difficult nightmare.
In the case Military Order Number T/14/07 is executed, it is expected that:
The entire village of Azzun Atma will be, in effect, besieged by two Walls;
Entry to and exits from the village will be possible only through a crossing terminal to be established at the northern entrance to the village and equipped with metal detector gates and rolling gates;
An escalation of the suffering of the residents, the farmers as well as land owners as the Wall is NOT created for security reasons as claimed by Israel. It aims at controlling and expropriating the lands of the village in addition to fighting the citizens through their sources of income;
Destroying and/or separating more than 1800 dunums from the land of Azzun Atme and Siniriya mainly used for the cultivation of olive And almond trees as well as green houses -produced vegetables;
Destroying and/or separating more than 1100 dunums from the land of Az Zawiya and Masha which are cultivated with olive trees;
Destroying and/or separating 800 dunums located close to the green line to the west of the village including some parts that are situated inside the fence of Oranit colony. Thus, the totoal number of land expected to be destroyed and/or separated is believed to be not less than 3700 dunums. This land could be accessible only through acquiring special passing permits from the Israeli military;
An Artisan well that is used fro agricultural irrigation will be separated behind the new Wall path.
Related case studies:
1. A New Section of the Segregation Wall is being constructed in Azzun Atma, Qalqilia Governorate, January, 2007.