Nine young men, including six children, have been arrested by Israeli forces over the past few days. The army executed the arrests after Israelis from nearby illegal settlement attacked Azzoun. Addameer writes:
On 9 February settlers twice attacked the village. At 7pm they first tried to attack the home of a village member, before returning later that night at 9pm to again attack the village. After IOF [Israeli occupation forces] arrived violent clashes broke out until 11.45pm, with IOF using tear gas, rubber bullets and sound bombs. The following day 10 February a group of settlers again attacked the village, closing off the main road for two hours.
At 2.30am on the morning of 11 February IOF raided the village and arrested nine people, including 6 children, the youngest of which was just 12 years old. Five of the nine youngsters have since been released.
As a further punitive measure IOF have also closed off the main entrance of Azzoun with concrete blocks forcing residents to walk six kilometers to get to the other side.
Azzoun, a village located just outside of Qalqilia, has witnessed a spike in arrests, especially of youth and children, in the past year. About 80 residents were arrested by the IOF in 2012, of them 68 were youth under 18 years old. So far in 2013 25 residents of Azzoun have been arrested.
During the arrests, children are treated violently, including being handcuffed and subjected to intimidation and in some cases beatings during interrogation. The residents spoke of deliberate destruction of the contents of the homes during night raids, sometimes with the aid of police dogs, in order to ruin the family’s food and personal property.
A village living under Israeli occupation
An estimated 8,500 Palestinians live in Azzoun. Over the years, Israeli forces have regularly blocked and raided the village.
November and December 2012: Israeli occupation forces implemented curfews on ten different occasions, and regularly blocked the main village entrance during the night raids, reports Addameer.
October 2012: Israeli soldiers invaded Azzoun, sealed the village, and imposed curfew forcing the residents under house arrest, reported the International Middle East Media Centre:
Local sources reported that the soldiers were deployed on all main entrances of the village, and prevented the residents from entering or leaving it. The army invaded the village from different locations, and forced all merchants to close their shops, and attacked several residents before imposing curfew on the village.
January 2012: “On 16 January, at around 1:30 am, approximately 20 Israeli military jeeps entered ‘Azzoun. Soldiers raided some 20 homes. During the raid, the Israeli forces physically and verbally attacked two Palestinians, Mahmoud Rashid Radwan and Yousef Ahmad Saleem; and arrested ten people, among them a 16 year-old boy,” Palestinian rights organization Al Haq reported.
April 2011: Israeli soldiers isolated Azzoun and prevented all residents from entering or leaving it. “Soldiers claimed that their act came to stop local youths from hurling stones at Israeli settlers who drive near the village,” wrote the International Middle East Media Centre.
During 2011: “Israeli forces arrested and detained 147 people from the village. Only a quarter of those detained have been released while the rest remain in prison. This month alone, Israeli soldiers have invaded the village three times, raiding houses and arresting 19 people, of whom six were children,” Al Haq reported.