by the Hebron team,
Life is very difficult for many of the Palestinians living in the Israeli controlled part of Hebron. Significant military presence, harassment by settlers and restriction on movement are everyday occurrences.
As an EA living in the heart of this divided city one cannot help wondering how the military occupation affects Palestinian children. Seen as “potential stone-throwers”, they are routinely stopped and searched in the streets by the Israeli army.
For a Palestinian child, life under occupation in the Israeli controlled part of Hebron means crossing checkpoints daily to access school and frequently having schoolbags searched by armed soldiers. Brief moments of levity, such as the above scene of children playing football with the soldiers, punctuate the otherwise tense atmosphere.
Last week EAPPI documented two cases of 9-year-old boys being arrested and held for hours over an alleged stone throwing incident. After school hours, children playing in the street are vulnerable to harassment from settlers who are protected by the Israeli military and police. As EAs we are concerned about the impact of these human rights violations on the children we accompany.
According to a recent report from UNOCHA:
“Incidents involving school children and schools almost tripled in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, from 2013 to 2014, affecting nearly 25,000 Palestinian children in 2014. Affected children grow up exposed to violence from an early age and many suffer from emotional and psychological distress, including experiencing recurrent nightmares and bedwetting. Over 77 per cent of students in Hebron showed symptoms of moderate to severe post-traumatic stress disorder […].”
UNOCHA February 2015
No child deserves to worry about war.
Act now to protect the rights of Palestinian Schoolchildren and enhance their Access to Education.