children for peace
This autumn, a local businessman alerted three CPTers to the presence of a
group of soldiers outside the Ibrahimi School, located in the heart of the Old City.
Upon arrival, the school principal informed CPT that a settler boy,
around seven years old, had accused two Palestinian boys from the Ibrahimi
School of throwing a rock at him. Soldiers wanted to enter the school
with the settler child to identify and arrest the Palestinian boys, and the
school principal responded by saying they would first need to get permission
from the Palestinian Minister of Education.
Over a period of three hours, fifty Israeli soldiers, twenty settlers and
Israeli police gathered outside the school. When the Palestinian Ministry
of Education told the soldiers that they could not enter the school, the
Israeli army disregarded his decision and entered the school with the settler
boy in tow. Two Palestinian boys under the age of eighteen were arrested
in front of their peers and taken to the local police station. The
Israeli army and police informed the Minister of Education that these arrests
were necessary for “maintaining the peace,”
because the group of settlers gathered outside the school had threatened to
remain and harass the school children if the police did
not arrest the Palestinian boys.
Over the years, people on the Hebron team have witnessed settler children attack Palestinian children many
times, and to the best of our knowledge, no police officer has ever taken a
Palestinian child into an Israeli school to point out his/her attackers.
Indeed, when adult Palestinians and internationals provide documentation of
settler children attacking Palestinian children
and adults, police and soldiers usually dismiss them rudely. The Ibrahimi
School incident not only shows the lack of impartiality on the part of the police, but also that settler accusations supersede preserving the
educational environment of Palestinian children.
The entry of soldiers into educational institutions signifies to children that schools are not safe places for
them, thus creating further barriers to education.
The young settler boy that made the rock throwing accusation was prompted by
his father and other adult settlers to demand entry into the Ibrahimi School
during school hours. Settler adults brought a number of settler children with them to the school and refused to obey the
soldiers’ instructions for children
to leave the scene.
Children need safe environments where they can learn and
grow. Unfortunately, what CPT observes here in Al-Khalil is that children, both Palestinian and Israeli, are not being brought
up in a spirit of love or respect for others. The Israeli authorities in this
area are not preparing children for a life of peace, tolerance, and
equality — a life that all children deserve.
For footage of the Ibrahimi school incident, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wi8Zh6O6VGk