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Students’ Classes Disrupted after Israeli Forces Raid their School

Saturday, 14 February 2015 10:39 - [2 - 8 February] - Ref.: 9/2015
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In 2013 and 2014, Al-Haq documented 12 incidents of disruption of  Palestinian schools in the occupied West Bank, with Israel obstructing and restricting the right to education for Palestinian children. These incidents include school raids by Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF), settler harassment and violence, confiscation of school property, as well as the demolition of a school's fence. In addition to the incidents at schools themselves, Palestinian children's education is negatively influenced by Israel's policies of arrest and detention of children, restrictions on movement, house demolitions and the resulting displacement of families, and extensive damage to infrastructure, particularly educational facilities in the Gaza Strip. In 2013, there were 59 incidents of violence documented in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) that resulted in the damage of educational facilities by Israel and the disruption of schooling, affecting 12,000 Palestinian children.[1]

'Abdelrahim Muhammad Suleiman - As-Sawwiya - Nablus

Sayia_lebban_schoolOn 24 February at approximately 12:00 pm, 'Abdelrahim, the vice principal of  As-Sawiya/Lubban High School, south of Nablus, was at the school when he heard an explosion therein. He rushed towards the eastern gate of the school, saw nothing, then went back inside and could hear students on the western side of the school screaming. The students told him that Israeli soldiers had raided the school. 'Abdelrahim asked the teachers to keep the students in their classrooms. He then saw an Israeli military jeep that had broken into the western gate of the school and saw five fully armed soldiers in the school yard. He spoke to the soldiers and asked what they wanted. The officer in charge said that there was stone throwing on the Nablus-Ramallah road next to the school. 'Abdelrahim explained to the officer that the students were having classes inside their classrooms and no one was in the school yard. The soldiers tried to go into the main school yard but 'Abdelrahim objected and told them that he would need to evacuate the students from the school first. He asked the teachers to evacuate the students and positioned teachers at the main gates, so as to avoid any confrontations from erupting between the students and the soldiers. On the eastern gate of the school, 'Abdelrahim spotted another military jeep near the main road. The officer there informed 'Abdelrahim that if stone throwing occurred again, he and the headmaster of the school would be arrested. The soldiers remained in the school until approximately 12:40 pm that day and the students were sent home. This is not the first time that the Israeli forces had raided this school to intimidate the students and teachers. Most of the raids are justified by the IOF who make unfounded accusations of stone throwing. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 10402/2015)

Israel’s attacks on schools and school children raise serious issues under international law. Under international humanitarian law, children, along with other members of the population, who are “taking no active part in the hostilities” are considered protected persons. The Fourth Geneva Convention states that children and young people should be ensured an education and allowed to attend schools. Further, the targeting of schools, due to their status as civilian objects, in the absence of military necessity may constitute a war crime and a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Children, as a vulnerable population, are also of particular concern under international human rights law. The Convention on the Rights of the Child underscores the duties of a state present under international humanitarian law, and that States parties should take measures “to ensure protection and care of children who are affected by an armed conflict. The Convention also stipulates that every child is entitled to education under Article 28, and, in Article 37 affirms that the arrest and detention of children should be a measure of law resort.

 


[1]  UN OCHA, Fragmented Lives - Humanitarian Overview 2013, March 2014, http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_annual_review_2014.pdf

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