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Israeli settlers stoned a group of a dozen Palestinian schoolchildren on their way home from school south of the West Bank city of Hebron on Tuesday afternoon, after an Israeli patrol had left them unaccompanied.
According to witnesses two settlers waited for the group of 11 children, all between the ages of six and eleven, on a road in the village of At-Tuwani, next to the settlement Ma’on. During the attack the settlers chased the children toward the nearby village of Tuba.
The stoning took place after an Israeli army patrol left the children to walk on their own.
This attack, according to the organization Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), was the latest in a pattern of settler violence, which is allowed to take place by a “complacent” Israeli military. CPT released a report on Wednesday cataloguing the attacks over the past year.
An American CPT worker named Sean said the Israeli troops stationed in the area were “dismissive” when asked why they left the children without escort.
“This is an ongoing thing. The army, as far as doing the patrol correctly, is non-responsive,” he said.
“The beginning was worse, but after today it seems harder than the beginning. The settlers are still beating our children,” said the mother of one child from At-Tuwani.
The Israeli army began escorting children in At-Tuwani in the fall of 2004 following settler attacks on a public road that passes between Ma’on settlement and Hill 833 settler outpost (also known as Havot Ma’on).
In November 2004, Israeli Knesset Committee for Children’s Rights affirmed the initial verbal agreement for military accompaniment of the children between the At-Tuwani mayor and the Israeli District Coordinating Office (DCO), the section of the army that coordinates civilian affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
The report “A Dangerous Journey: Settler violence against Palestinian schoolchildren under Israeli military escort”, describes the daily journey of the children from the villages of tuba and maghaer al-Abeed to and from their school in At-Tuwani under Israeli military escort.
Comparison of the data collected during the 2007-08 school year and the 2006-07 school year shows a constant level of settler violence against the schoolchildren.