On December 4, 2018 Christian Peacemaker Team, Palestine issued Palestinian School Report: Education Under Occupation, November 4-27, 2018.
Christian Peacemaker Team, Palestine documented the increase in violence by Israeli military against Palestinian schools and school children in the Qitoun and Salaymeh areas of H-2 area, al-Khahil/Hebron. During the three weeks reported, CPT Palestine observed 238 rounds of tear gas canisters and 51 rounds of sound grenades fired by Israeli military during the time Palestinian school children were leaving school.
The tear gas and sound grenades were fired into residential areas including seven schools affecting more than 3,000 students. The report documents that these recent acts of aggression were arbitrary, unprovoked, and especially intended to target Palestinian school children, their schools and their neighborhoods. The report documents the daily violence that occurred during these 15 days. Similar violence has continued into December of 2018.
Not only did the Israeli military fire tear gas and sound grenades into the streets and neighborhoods, but on two separate occasions entered two schools. Two students were removed from the premises of a school and transported in a military vehicle to an Israeli police stations on November 5th. Six days later tear gas and sound grenades were fired directly into a school compound. On November 14, 29 tear gas canisters, on the 18, 34 tear gas canisters and the 22, 39 tear gas canisters were fired by Israeli military at schoolchildren and civilians. They were launched from the street and from the rooftops of Palestinian homes. Israeli military forces have invaded every space of Palestinian life, including homes and streets, and now schools.
During the time CPT monitored this harassment, our count of children attending school remained constant. Education is important to Palestinian families and to the community. It is estimated that 96.5 percent of Palestinians are literate. Under International Humanitarian Law, it is the obligation of an occupying power to ensure the welfare of the occupied population: civilians must be treated as protected persons and are entitled to respect and humane treatment. Protecting Palestinian civilians from any form of violence, and ensuring their rights, and providing for their needs is a primary responsibility of the occupying power. The illegal actions carried out by the military in support of the occupation violates International law.
The CPT report was published with the urgent desire to both document the Israeli military’s escalation in violence and advocate that such violence must cease, if Palestinian schoolchildren and civilians are to live without fear. CPT requests that this documentation be widely shared. Such witness will recognize and advocate for freedom of all Palestinians, especially the school children of al-Khalil, whose freedom continues to be restricted and dispossessed by the state of Israel.