by Joy Ellison
Every school day, children from Tuba and Maghayir al Abeed walk between Ma’on settlement and Havat Ma’on settlement outpost to at-Tuwani and are regularly attacked by adult Israeli settlers. Because these attacks have come to the attention of Israeli and international media, the Israeli military is supposed to escort the children and ensure their safety. Too often, the army refuses to respond and the children are left to face the setters on their own.
One March morning, my teammates and I had observed only five children arrive at school in at-Tuwani. A larger group of children had gathered at the appointed location and waited for the Israeli military escort until 8:10am. Since school had already begun, most of the children returned home.
However, Mohammed, the father of some of the children, gathered the kids, abandoned his own plans for the morning, and walked with them through the hills along a safer path where settlers could not see them. It must have taken them over an hour to reach the at-Tuwani school, but they did. Thanks to Mohammed, 14 more children had the opportunity to learn that day.
The bravery and determination of the school children and their parents always impresses me. But as I watched all 21 kids make their way home, I realized just how highly these families value education. When these children go to school, they’re learning more than reading, writing, and math. They are learning what they have to do to live with dignity. They are learning the meaning of resistance.