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education in Palestine

AT-TUWANI REPORT: The Dangerous Road to Education. Palestinian Students Suffer Under Settler Violence and Military Negligence

CPTnet Digest

4 January 2011

A newsletter written by members of Christian Peacemaker Teams and Operation Dove.

Operation Dove (Nonviolent Peace Corps of Association “Comunit” Papa Giovanni XXIII) and Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) announce the publication of the 2009-2010 report on the Israeli military escort to the Palestinian schoolchildren from the villages of Tuba and Maghayir al-Abeed.

An average of eighteen Palestinian children from the villages of Tuba and Maghayir al Abeed attend school in the neighbouring village of At-Tuwani.

To reach school, the children typically use the primary road that connects their villages with At-Tuwani and passes between the Israeli settlement of Ma’on and the Israeli outpost of Havat Ma’on (Hill 833).

Since 2001, Israeli settlers from Havat Ma’on have routinely attacked the children on their journey to and from school, but it was not until November 2004 that Israeli authorities established a daily military escort.

Despite the Israeli military escort, the children have been victims of violence 104 times between November 2004 and June 2010.

The soldiers carrying out the escort have at times failed to protect the children and have frequently arrived late, causing the children to wait, sometimes for hours, before and after school.

During the 2009-2010 school year, children missed almost twenty-seven hours of school and waited fifty-three hours for military escort after school.

In addition, the soldiers regularly failed to provide a complete escort of the children, almost always leaving the children to walk unescorted beside settlement buildings, in an area where settlers have attacked them.

Despite the children’s right to access education, the military fails to provide a consistent escort for the children. When the military does not arrive, the schoolchildren must take alternative routes that take up to two hours by foot through a rocky, hilly landscape. Furthermore, settlers attack the children and their relatives on these longer paths.

Members of Operation Dove and Christian Peacemaker Teams have had a continuous presence in the village of At-Tuwani since 2004 and daily monitor the military escort of the schoolchildren.

The report, “The Dangerous Road to Education. Palestinian Students Suffer Under Settler Violence and Military Negligence” is available as a PDF. Click here for the PDF document.

Innocents’ Rights


In May 2003, the Israeli occupation forces imposed a curfew on my village.  The curfew continued for several days, they didn’t allow us to go anywhere.  There was a food shortage, people needed essential things like bread, vegetables and milk for the children.

While this was happening, the schools where my sons and daughter attended were still open in a village nearby.  I decided to take them to school, a huge risk because of the curfew.

The Israeli tanks stopped opposite to our house because it was closest to the area that wasn’t under curfew and siege.  When the tanks went away, I took my sons and daughter to school.

They had a typical school day, as they had experienced before the siege.  At the end of the day we bought some food, and began walking home.

When we approached our neighborhood, it was imperative for us to go through wheat fields instead of going through the street that leads to our house. We walked into the field, but the Israeli soldiers saw us from their tanks.

They turned their machine guns toward us.  We felt so scared and frightened, we didn’t know what to do.

I didn’t have time to think.  I asked my children to lie on the ground under the wheat spikes.  We began to crawl while the bullets were going over our heads.  We were calling out to God to bless our lives.  Despite the scorching sun, we continued crawling until we reached the edge of a lemon and orange orchard.

We remained there for about two hours.  We were very tired and hungry and had only oranges to eat.  We finally heard the tanks leaving our neighborhood to return to the nearby Israeli settlement.  We quickly began to run out of the field.

We ran to our village and when we reached the main street, I found my husband and the Red Cross waiting there.  They all thought that they wouldn’t find us alive because witnesses told them that a woman with three children were stuck in the gun fire.

For us as Palestinians, this danger is a daily routine.  All of us hold our lives in our hands, not knowing what destiny awaits.

A 10-minute inspection added four months to education


In one semester during my study at the university in the West Bank, I had three consecutive exams.  On the first exam day as I was going to the university, I faced a very hard army checkpoint.

It was very crowded and the people were waiting in very long line.  People had to pass one-by-one, and I knew it would take me a long time to pass. That meant I’d may be late to the exam.

So, I tried to avoid the checkpoint by walking through the mountains.  I was caught by Israeli soldiers and I explained to them that I have a final exam but they did not care. They didn’t let me return home and they forced me back to the crowd, so again I had to wait for my turn to pass.

I reached the university too late and missed the exam.  The same thing happened on the way back home. I waited to pass for a long time and I reached home late. I didn’t have enough time to study for the exam the next day.

As a result of all this, I had to register the two courses again and delay my graduation for 4 months just because of a ten minute inspection.

I was disappointed and got angry, although I knew that others had suffered much more than me. Some have lost their lives because of checkpoints that prevented them from arriving at hospitals in time. Many women have been forced to give birth at the checkpoints.   They are the most difficult tragedy for us.