Community Peacemaker Teams (CPT) Palestine’s accompaniment of students in Al-Khalil/Hebron H2 saw a distressing escalation of Israeli military violence against schoolchildren during the winter semester. The use of tear gas and sound grenades targeting children and other Palestinian civilians was frequent and unprovoked, severely hindering learning. Students in Masafer Yatta/South Hebron Hills have also experienced increased violence from Israeli occupation soldiers and Israeli settlers which has hindered their access to education, as reported by CPT’s regular visits to the region.
Alarming data from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reveals the presence of approximately 20 Israeli military checkpoints, 8 partial checkpoints, 40 roadblocks, 8 road gates, and 45 other obstacles within H2 in Hebron. CPT, working alongside partners like the World Council of Church’s Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), diligently documented violations such as bag searches, child detentions, and the use of force against school students. Throughout the second semester in 2023, we closely monitored Qitoun(209) and al-Salaymeh (160) checkpoints.
Moreover, during the most recent period of CPT school accompaniment, violence against students was exacerbated by the involvement of two particular Israeli infantry brigades in the military occupation of H2. From the end of January until the beginning of March, the Golani Brigade’s 51st Battalion was the primary military force occupying the H2 area. Subsequently, the Paratrooper Brigade’s 890th Battalion was deployed there, followed by the Nahal Brigade’s 932nd Battalion during the summer.
The situation became more complex due to a 78-day teacher strike and a 94-day United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) strike, leading to variations in school schedules among different institutions. Some schools and teachers continued classes during the strike, causing confusion over timing and compensation. In light of these complexities, we present a summary of recent events.
Education is a fundamental right for every child. This report emphatically underscores the violations in Al-Khalil H2 and South Hebron Hills, urging for a safe and secure learning environment for all students.