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On Wednesday, the 30th of July, Israeli settlers attacked 14 Palestinian children between the ages of six to twelve, on their way from summer camp to their homes in the villages of Tuba and Magher Al-Abeed. Five settlers hid themselves while waiting for the children, along their daily route home, from summer camp. When the children approached, the settlers began yelling, swearing and throwing rocks at them. One settler jumped over the settlement fence and chased the children on a path leading to the village of Tuba. The Israeli soldiers assigned to protect the children had abandoned them approximately 500 metres earlier, thereby failing to complete the escort of the children as ordered by the Israeli Knesset in 2004. The failure of the military escort to protect the children on their daily route to school and summer camp has left the children vulnerable to several settler attacks in recent weeks.
A similar incident occured on Sunday the 27th of July, when at least three Israeli settlers attacked fourteen Palestinian children and two internationals as they walked to their village of Tuba, also on their way home from the summer camp in the village of At-Tuwani. As the children and internationals from Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), were walking in a valley south of the illegal settlement outpost of Havot Ma’on, one masked settler came down the hill, throwing stones with a slingshot. The children and CPT international volunteer, Jan Benvie, ran ahead, but other settlers were approaching them from the opposite side of the valley. None of the stones thrown by the settlers struck the children, aged between 6 and 15 years old, and they were able to run to safety.
Joel Gulledge, an international volunteer with CPT, was filming this attack. When the masked settler saw Gulledge with the video camera, he began directing his stones at Gulledge. The settler hit Gulledge in the leg with a rock and he was unable to run. The settler then ran to him, wrested the camera from him, and began beating him with a work and the camera. The settler then ran off with the camera.
These comes as the latest series of attacks by settlers on the school children from the villages of Tuba and Maghayer Al Abeed, who are often subjected or threatened by settlers on their daily route to school (for background information see http://right2edu.birzeit.edu/news/article549). In spite of the Knesset order in 2004 for a military escort to accompany the children on their daily route to school to protect them from settler attacks, the children are still vulnerable due to the fact that the escort often does not show up.
On the 22nd of July, the military did not escort the children, which meant at least eight out of fifteen children attending the summer camp in At-Tuwani did not attend that day, as they were too afraid to walk without the escort. On the morning of the 23rd of July, the army again refused to escort the children, and they were chased by three settlers, one of whom was masked and carrying a stick. On the 26th of July, a military personnel informed internationals that the army would no longer provide an escort for the children, who were waiting for the army to arrive while four settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement outpost of Havot Ma’on shouted at the children. The personnel would not give the name and brigade of the commander refusing to provide the escort. When the internationals explained the dangerous situation for the children, the military personnel said, “I don’t think the settlers will attack the children”.
SUPPORT THE PLIGHT OF THESE PALESTINIAN SCHOOL CHILDREN WHO ARE BEING DENIED THEIR BASIC RIGHT TO EDUCATION!
The children and international volunteers starting out on their daily route to summer camp in At-Tuwani
* Attend the march on the 2nd of August, 2008 to raise awareness of the violence faced by school children, the failure of the Israeli army to protect them, and the effects of Israeli settlement expansion. Click here for further information.
* Attend the 4th Annual At-Tuwani Summer Camp Festival and Press Conference on Saturday the 9th of August. The Press Conference will be held from 10 am to 12 pm in the village of At-Tuwani. For more information please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org