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Israeli military negligence again exposes young Palestinian children to threat of attack from Israeli settlers

Christian Peacemakers Team (CPT)

27 October 2009

For Immediate Release:

TUBA – On Tuesday 27 October 2009, Palestinian school children from the villages of Tuba and Maghayir Al Abeed did not attend school in At-Tuwani due to threat of violence from Israeli settlers from the Israeli settlement of Ma’on and the illegal Israeli outpost of Havat Ma’on.

Internationals from Christian Peacemaker Teams and Operation Dove made repeated calls to the Israeli military, who were mandated by the Israeli Knesset to escort the children from Tuba and Maghayir Al Abeed to the area school in At-Tuwani. After waiting forty five minutes for the Israeli military to arrive, the children and the internationals began walking a longer route to school at 8:15 am, fifteen minutes after the start of the school day. However, four adult Israeli settlers, one masked and armed with a slingshot, in addition to settlers in a pickup truck, blocked their way. The internationals ran with the children back to Tuba. As a result, sixteen children missed a day’s education.

Later, at 8:47, after the children returned to Tuba, an Israeli military jeep came to the area in which the settlers had threatened the children. Soldiers from the jeep spoke with members of Operation Dove who were in the area. The soldiers claimed they were new and did not know where to meet the children for the escort, though at no point previously did international volunteers see a jeep driving in the area.

This is the second consecutive day in which the Israeli military has failed to arrive to escort the Palestinian children to and from school, forcing them to take a longer path on which they have been attacked by Israeli settlers on numerous occasions.

In 2004, following a series of attacks by Israeli settlers on the young Palestinian schoolchildren and also on international volunteers, the Israeli Knesset mandated the Israeli military to provide daily accompaniment for the children on the shortest possible route to and from school. The Israeli military have repeatedly failed to carry out this task adequately, resulting in children being late for school and subject to unnecessary anxiety and risk.

Background information

During the 2008-2009 school year, settlers used violence against the children ten times; two of these times the settlers threw rocks at the children.

For a complete report on the school escort in 2007-2008, including maps, photographs and interviews with the children, please see “A Dangerous Journey” at www.cpt.org/files/Dangerous-Journey-Summary-2008.pdf