Occupation forces in Azoun Atme yesterday prevented trucks from delivering vital fuel for the villageâs artesian wells.
The Ashila wells are located inside the village and supply water for the greenhouses and fruit plantations belonging to farmers from Azoun Atme and the nearby villages of Snerea, Beit Anin, Mas-ha and Zawiha. Around 150 dunum of land are irrigated by the wells, including many greenhouses.
The fruit farms need to be continuously irrigated and the greenhouses need water several times a day. Villagers say that if the blockade continues, their plantations will dry out and wither, causing a catastrophe for the whole area.
Azoun Atme is completely encircled by the Apartheid Wall, and entry is only possible through a checkpoint at the one gate. Access is tightly controlled by the occupation forces, who frequently prevent the delivery of vital agricultural products such as seeds, pesticides and diesel. Private cars are not allowed to enter unless they can prove that the cars are registered to them.
In 2006, for eight months occupation forces barred maintenance workers from entering the village to carry out vital repairs on the wells, despite pressure from international human rights organisations.
Azoun Atme and the surrounding villages have a large amount of land isolated behind the Apartheid Wall, which they can only reach through the access gates if they have a permit. The occupation authorities have been gradually reducing the number of permits issued. The occupationâs strategy is to make farming in Qalqilya district unsustainable in order to force the farmers from the land to make way for the Zionist settlers. Azoun Atme is located in the south of Qalquilya district.