AT-TUWANI: Israeli military escort fails again protect Palestinian children from settler attacks

CPTnet
15 October 2008
AT-TUWANI: Israeli military escort fails again protect Palestinian children from settler attacks

[Note: According to the Geneva Conventions, the International Court of Justice in The Hague, and numerous United Nations resolutions, all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal.  Most settlement outposts are considered illegal under Israeli law.]

Israeli settlers from the settlement of Ma’on in the South Hebron Hills attacked Palestinian children on their way home from school on Tuesday 14 October 2008.  The children were returning from school in the village of At-Tuwani to their homes in villages of Tuba and Maghaer al Abeed.  As the children passed beyond the boundary of the settlement, two adult Israeli settlers ambushed them, throwing stones at the children and chasing them towards Tuba.

“The children were very afraid when they arrived home,” said O*, one of the children’s fathers.

This attack happened in spite of the fact that the Israeli military is responsible for escorting the children past the settlement of Ma’on and settlement outpost of Havat Ma’on.  Even though repeated attacks on the Palestinian elementary schoolchildren have been well documented by Palestinian, Israeli and international sources, Israeli soldiers continue leave the children vulnerable to settler assaults.  Their vehicles almost always stop and turn before the end of the route, which leaves the children to walk alone on a portion of the route where Israeli settlers have attacked them several times.  That stretch of road is also the only part of the children’s journey home where internationals monitoring the school escort from hilltops cannot see the children.

Settler attacks on the schoolchildren from Tuba and Maghaer al Abeed have been a recurrent problem for years, and the implementation of an Israeli military escort has failed to solve the problem.  Last year, the 2007-2008 academic year, settlers attacked the children fourteen times, as documented in the report “A Dangerous Journey: Settler Violence Against Palestinian Schoolchildren Under Israeli Military Escort,” available at http://cpt.org/files/Palestine-School-Accompaniment-Report-2006-2008-Dangerous-Journey.pdf

*Names have not been used for the security of the individuals.