Do Unto Others focuses on the Middle East, (nonviolent) social movements, and how I make sense of my place in the world. I'm currently based in Cairo, Egypt doing peacebuilding and community development.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Israeli Military's negligence exposes schoolchildren to Israeli settler threats

A press release from Christian Peacemaker Teams in At-Tuwani.

October 26, 2010

On the afternoon of Monday October 25th, Palestinian schoolchildren from the villages of Tuba and Maghayir al Abeed were threatened by four adult Israeli settlers from the Havat Ma'on outpost while walking home from school. The children, aged 6-13, were walking without their normal Israeli military escort because the military had, for the second consecutive afternoon, failed to arrive to accompany the children.

After waiting for the military for over an hour, the children were forced to take a longer route on which masked Israeli settlers have attacked Palestinians and Internationals on three separate occasions over the past two weeks (see release, Internationals from the Christian Peacemaker Teams accompanied the children home and were present to observe the four Israeli settlers leave a house on a ridge above the path and begin to run towards the children and Internationals. The schoolchildren immediately began to run away, at which point the settlers slowed to a brisk walk but continued to follow the running children for a few more minutes until all were safely out of sight.

The Israeli military is mandated by the Israeli Knesset to escort these children to and from school each day because Israeli settlers from the Ma’on settlement and Havat Ma’on outpost have repeatedly attacked schoolchildren on their way to and from school. On the afternoons of the 24th and 25th, Internationals from Operation Dove and the Christian Peacemaker Teams made repeated calls to the Israeli military to notify them that the children were ready and waiting for the escort, but the army never arrived. This is the third incident this month in which the army has failed to arrive to escort the schoolchildren.

Operation Dove and Christian Peacemaker Teams have maintained an international presence in At-Tuwani and South Hebron Hills since 2004.

[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, including Havot Ma'on (Hill 833) are considered illegal under Israeli law.]

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