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At-Tuwani – On the morning of Saturday June 11th, the military escort which accompanies the Palestinian schoolchildren of the village of Tuba and Maghayir Al-Abeed to their school in At-Tuwani did not arrive. The children had to walk to school alone, thereby risking attack by settlers from the Ma’on settlement and the Havat Ma’on outpost.
Usually there is no school on Saturday, but today was the last day of final exams, therefore the schoolchildren of Tuba and Maghayir Al-Abeed had a normal school day which was known by the military escort.
The school headmaster had previously informed the DCL (District Coordination Office), who in turn had informed the Israeli army, of the need for the military escort. Nevertheless, and despite some phone calls that the internationals did the morning to exhort it, the escort did not arrive. The internationals also tried to repeatedly call the DCL, but they did not get any answer. The children waited patiently, and finally decided to go alone running through the short path that is usually taken when escorted by the military.
Along this route, they are exposed to serious attacks by settlers from the settlement and the outpost. Internationals are prohibited from directly escorting the children through that road, but do monitor the military escort daily. The risk is even greater since the escort did not arrive on Saturday, when settler attacks are more frequent. Today there were no settlers present along the path of the children, who reached their destination with no problem.
The evident negligence of the Israeli army this morning seriously endangered the schoolchildren it is supposed to protect. Later after school was let out the military escort did arrive to escort the children back home through the short path. The soldiers justified their absence in the morning saying that nobody informed them.
For further information about the trend of the military escort during the school year 2009/2010, the report “The Dangerous Road to Education. Palestinian Students Suffer Under Settler Violence and Military Negligence” is available here.