Photo Essay: Military presence during school exams

by Ana, Yanoun team

The exams period during primary and secondary school is a very stressful period to all children and teenagers, no matter if they live in Germany, South Africa or in Uruguay. For Palestinian students, however, this is an extra stressful period of the year.

During exam periods, the Israeli army often increases their presence in and around Palestinian schools. Hyped-up by their encounters with the soldiers, it is extremely difficult for students to concentrate on their studies in the classroom.

 

EAPPI does school runs as part of its Access to Education initiative, which aims to guarantee children’s access to education despite the hardships of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. The aim of the school runs is to offer protective presence to children on their way to and from school and monitor human rights violations against the children.

On 3 December, we witnessed first-hand the difficulties of going to school for Palestinian children during exam periods. On this day, Israeli soldiers prevent children and teachers from getting to school. We arrived on the scene at 7:40 am and stayed until all were allowed to enter school around 8:15 am. 

When asked why they closed the school, soldiers responded that there had been stone throwing the day before. The headmaster of the school informed us, however, that he was at school the previous day until 2pm and there had been no stone throwing.

*Find more Access to Education resources.

‘Urif school clash between Israeli settlers & military and Palestinian youth

by Yanoun team

On November 18, a group of Israeli settlers came near the school in ‘Urif and began to throw stones. Later, the Israeli military arrive and shoot tear gas into the school yard. EAs were there to catch it all on film for you.

‘Urif boys school suffers from frequent settler harassment and violence from the Israeli military. This is just one example of struggles children in Palestine face in Accessing Education.

*Read about our Access to Education project.

Where going to school ends in arrest

On the eve of the 20th Anniversary of the Oslo Accords, EAPPI presence crucial in helping youth finish their education

by Jennifer, Yanoun team

1393J. Werkhoven -EAPPI team Yanoun on welcome visit to school

Photo EAPPI/J. van Werkhoven

This Friday, September 13, marks the 20th Anniversary of the Oslo accords.  Although, this agreement was meant to be a temporary solution, today, Palestinian territory is still divided into Area A, B, C. In Area C, Israel completely controls militarily and civilly 60% of the West Bank and in Area B, Israel exercises military control. 20 years after Oslo, the village of Yatma sees daily the consequence of Israeli control in the area, especially its dire affects on the lives of schoolchildren.

ocha_opt_the_closure_map_2013_04_21_nablusA perilous road

Yatma, located about 15 kilometers south of Nablus is next to the Israeli settlement of Rechalim. In between Yatma and Rechalim lies Road 50, a source of continued tension and difficulties for the village of Yatma, especially hindering education.

Most boys from Yatma attend school on the opposite side of Road 50 from Yatma and they must walk on Road 50 on their way to school.  The settlers from Rechalim, however, often complain to the Israeli military if boys from Yatma come to close to their settlement on Road 50.

16 boys arrested

In 2011, the situation came to a head when the Israeli army arrested 16 Yatma teenagers, accusing them of using Road 50 and throwing stones.  The teenagers confessed that they were walking on Road 50, but only to go to school.

“The children confessed to the army that they were walking on the road,” explains the mayor of Yatma, “but they signed a paper in Hebrew that they were walking along the road  and throwing stones.”

As a result of signing a confession which the boys could not read the Israeli authorities sentenced the boys to 20 to 35 months in prison. Two have been released, but the rest remain in prison.

After this incident, the village of Yatma decided that they would send their teenage boys of Yatma to another school until the age of 17.  “This is not the ideal for our students, but I see no other way for our boys to receive a good education,” described the mayor of Yatma.

EAPPI presence supports right to education

A new school doesn’t solve everything. The Israeli occupation affects boys schools especially, as Israeli soldiers are present primarily around boys schools, explains Dr. Mohammed Awwad, Director of Education for the Palestinian Authority. For this reason, the village of Yatma requested the presence of EAPPI for protection as boys go to school.

Dr. Awwad praises EAPPI, saying, “students feel safer if you are there.” Not only does EAPPI presence protect boys from Israeli military violence, it also reduces the amount boys dropping out of school and enables them to finish their secondary school education.

In the shadow of Oslo

Access to education, both primary and secondary education, is a basic human right for children and is stipulated in both Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 14 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

In light of the 20th Anniversary of the Oslo Accords, children’s right to education suffers under the shadow of continued Israeli control in over 60% of the West Bank. Yatma, is one village of many, where ensuring a bright future for the next generation is a constant struggle.