December 10th, 2015 | International Solidarity Movement, al Khalil team | al Khalil, occupied Palestine
Today, on International Human Rights Day, school children as well as teachers were denied access to the Cordoba school in Al-Khalil (Hebron). The mixed primary school is located in the neighborhood of Tel Rumeida at the end of the small strip of Shuhada Street that Palestinians are still able to access.
Since the declaration of the ‘closed military zone’, effective since the 1st of November in Tel Rumeida and Shuhada Street, the children and teachers have been registered as numbers in order to pass checkpoint 56 and checkpoint 55 on their way to school. On Monday the 7th of December 2015, the checkpoint 56 has been closed for an indefinite period of time. The children and teachers that need to cross checkpoint 56 – which marks the border between the H2 area of Al-Khalil, under full Israeli control, and the H1 area, supposedly under full Palestinian control – have had to argue with the Israeli forces every morning since then, in order to pass the checkpoint and reach the school.
After a Palestinian was killed on Wednesday, 9th of December at checkpoint 55 on Shuhada Street, the children and teachers found the access to the school blocked by barbed wire and countless Israeli soldiers. The Israeli forces have completely locked the way to the school for the majority of children and teachers. The only other way to the school is through a cemetery on the other side of Al-Khalil. The Israeli forces simply ignore the pleas from both school children and teachers to let them pass and get to the school, and don’t give any indication as to when the barbed wire will be removed.
While school children and teachers were waiting in hopes of passing, infamous illegal settler Anat Cohen arrived at the scene and openly, without any apprehension, verbally and physically harassed them. The Israeli forces failed to prevent her from doing so, yet again turning a blind eye on increasing settler violence. Two hours after school was supposed to begin, the children and teachers gave up and the school was forced to remain closed for the day, the childrens’ right to education being simply denied to them.