AT-TUWANI: Israeli military fails to escort children twice in one day

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CPTnet

20 October 2011
AT-TUWANI: Israeli military fails to escort children twice
in one day

On 16 October, the Israeli military failed, twice, to escort
the school children of Tuba and Maghayir al Abeed past Ma’on settlement and
Havat Ma’on outpost.  Because
Israeli settlers have attacked and harassed the Palestinian schoolchildren
multiple times in the past, the Israeli military made a commitment to villagers
in the South Hebron Hills that soldiers would accompany the children if international
groups such as CPT and Operation Dove agreed to stop accompanying them.  CPT and Operation Dove now monitor the
escort from hilltops at the start and finish of the escort.

According to members of Operation Dove and the
schoolchildren, the army failed to meet the children in the morning to escort
them to school.  Instead, the
soldiers in the jeep stopped halfway along the route, and then drove away as
the children were running to meet them. 
“They were probably new, and didn’t know what they were doing,”
said one of the schoolchildren who walk to school with the escort every day.  “They didn’t see us, even though
we were right there at [the meeting place], waving and whistling at them.”

In the afternoon, when the children were ready to go home,
the army again failed even to arrive for the escort.  The children made repeated phone calls to the Palestinian
District Coordinating Liaison, which made repeated phone calls on their behalf
to the Israeli army, which made repeated promises that the soldiers were on
their way.  After waiting over an
hour and a half without seeing the soldiers, the children left without the
military escort, accompanied by members of Christian Peacemaker and Operation
Dove.  The children arrived home safely
by 3:00 p.m.

The failure of the soldiers to arrive on the 16th was not an
isolated incident.  In the previous
month, the soldiers failed to escort the children properly on five occasions,
sometimes letting them walk alone in places where settlers have previously
attacked them, keeping too much distance between themselves and the children
during the escort, or failing to intervene when settlers threatened the
children.

 

[Note: According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Hague Regulations,
the International Court of Justice, and several United Nations resolutions, all
Israeli settlements and outposts in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are
illegal.  Most settlement outposts,
including Havat Ma’on (Hill 833), are considered illegal under Israeli law.]

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

 

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