'Azzun, Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Jayyus, Tue 25.9.12, Afternoon
On 17.7.2012 we’d met with the spokesman for the Azzun municipality following a report in the Arab press that the IDF had arrested eight youths in the middle of the night. Today we met him again.
Eliyahu checkpoint – One auto being inspected, trunk open; a dog handler and his dog are also participating.
Azzun – Meeting with Hassan Shbeita, the municipal spokesman.
Yesterday branches were lopped off three trees next to the road. Afterwards a video was taken of the result. They still don’t know who cut the trees. A firm is working there, repairing the road, and they may have found it necessary to do it (for some unknown reason). But it’s also possible that settlers assuaged their anger on the trees. The woman who owns the land will file a complaint with the Palestinian police.
The olive harvest begins next week. He doesn’t have a record of how many people applied for permits to reach their groves, and how many received them. The adults leave for the harvest in the morning and their children join them after school. They must cross Highway 55 in order to reach their land. Last year the soldiers in the observation tower were afraid the children intended to throw rocks at settlers’ cars passing on the road, and arrested them. Their request: to allow the children to reach their parents’ lands in order to help them harvest the olives.
Karin tells him about the new forms they have to fill out in order to obtain permits. It turns out they don’t know about them. They’ll contact the Palestinian DCO.
The most urgent problem is to allow tractors and vehicles south of Azzun and west of Ma’aleh Shomron. Vehicles aren’t able to go through the northern crossing near Ma’aleh Shomron; the area is strewn with heavy boulders.
Bulldozers which had been working in the area of the high tension electric antennas serving the settlers cut the roots of venerable trees. All of them died.
Last week the army arrived for a surprise inspection. They drove around the locality a few times and arrested a man who’d been tried in the past, served 4 years in prison and was released. His family still doesn’t know where he is. We gave Hassan the phone number of the human rights lawyers and also suggested he contact Yesh Din.
When we were here in July we were told about eight youths who’d been accused of throwing rocks at settlers’ cars and sent to the Megiddo prison. Hassan tells us about one of them, 16 years old, who after being harshly interrogated and tortured agreed to sign whatever they put before him and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. They don’t allow his mother to visit him. The other youths were sentenced to 5, 8 and 9 years, and each of them was fined NIS 5,000, an amount none of their families can pay.
We say goodbye and leave Azzun.
Jayyous – We visit N. and give the family parcels of clothing and toys.
Eliyahu crossing – Three vehicles being inspected. Light traffic.
Habla – The checkpoint is closed. No one can enter or leave.