Ramallah, 13 February 2013 - Addameer is deeply concerned by the escalation in settler’s attacks and arrests by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) in the village of Azzoun, located in the northern West Bank. Over the past few days nine young men, including six children, have been arrested.
The recent arrests came after Azzoun was attacked by a group of illegal Israeli settlers on 9 and 10 of February.
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 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.
In November and December 2012 alone, the IOF implemented curfews on ten different occasions, as well as regularly blocked the main village entrance during the night raids.
Addameer calls on the international community to meet its obligations under the Geneva Conventions to ensure that Israel abides by international law to protect the occupied Palestinian population, and take action to ensure that all illegal Israeli settlements are removed in accordance with international law.