AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): No safety for Palestinian children walking to school in Hebron

As the violence continues on the streets of Occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, we need to keep in mind, first and foremost, that what is occurring in the West Bank is not a reaction to an incident that happened a week ago, or two weeks ago. It is the ongoing resistance against the seizure and occupation of lands that started in 1948. The military occupation has been in place since 1967, and this short video is a reminder that the one key message that is consistently omitted from news broadcasts is the fact that Palestinians live under occupation.

The following account from the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron gives an account of the trauma and risk that students are facing, and the restrictions on their freedom of movement:

[The following release has been adapted for CPTnet. The original is available on CPT Palestine’swebsite.]

In the first ten days of October, Israeli forces fired more than 143 teargas canisters, as Palestinian children walked to and from school, as well as five stun grenades, from two military checkpoints (approximately 0.3 miles apart) in the H2 section of Hebron. On two of those ten days, Israeli forces also fired rubber-coated steel bullets into a crowd of children (one killed 13 year-old Ahmad Sharaka near Ramallah this week). Two Palestinian children in this area were hospitalised as a result of excessive teargas inhalation on their walk to school on 12.10.15.

In the past week, Israeli forces ambushed and arrested two boys aged 11 and 12 after school on 13.10.15 (see video and full account here). Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, states that child arrest is in clear violation of human rights law.

The presence of school children does nothing to deter the Israeli military from this relentless use of teargas, stun grenades, rubber-coated steel bullets, detention and arrest.  They are entirely preoccupied with a collection of those children, occupied, harassed and humiliated their entire lives, throwing stones at the heavily armed grown men occupying checkpoints and rooftops.

One Israeli Border Policeman recently told CPTers that the Israeli military supposedly “keeps the children safe”, and that “the little ones can go to the school safely.” Soon after, another Border Policeman fired a steel-coated rubber bullet into a crowd of small boys throwing stones at a soldier on an occupied rooftop who felt so little threat he was wearing no helmet. Meanwhile the day before a total of 81 teargas canisters had been fired in a similar scenario at this checkpoint (Qitoun). See video here.

Such military repression is far from abnormal in H2 Hebron. However, as physical and fatal violence has intensified in these tense first two weeks of October—during which 30 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, 1300 have been injured by live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets, with four Israelis killed and 67 injured by Palestinians.  Other forms of military repression have also increased, evident in the increased use of physical force and child arrest at school time.

In this context, the little ones, as young as the four-year-olds we walk to kindergarten– cannot walk to school safely as a Border Police man told a CPTer they could. In fact, one of our little friends we walk to kindergarten had to hold his jumper over his nose to avoid the sting of teargas as he left his home on Monday this week. Firing over 143 teargas canisters, five stun grenades, rubber-coated steel bullets and arresting minors is, however, supposedly the Israeli military’s approach to safety when it comes to Palestinian children.

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A Bird is not a Stone – an evening of poetry from Palestine

a-bird-is-not-a-stoneWhen:    6pm for 6:30 on Tuesday 21 July
Where:   The Bush Music Hut
@ Addison Road Centre
142 Addison Rd., Marrickville
Map:       http://tinyurl.com/o84o2p7

Contemporary Palestinian Poetry –  in five languages with introductions by Sarah Irving, editor of “A Bird is not a Stone”, the stunning new anthology of contemporary Palestinian poetry.
BOOKING ESSENTIAL: http://www.trybooking.com/IESZ
Tickets $10/$5 and special tickets for our keen supporters who want include a donation to support our education projects in Hebron.

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Education under occupation

The 25th of February marks the anniversary of the massacre that took place at the Ibrahimi Mosque, in 1994, where 29 Palestinians were shot dead, and another 129 were left wounded. The massacre was committed by a Jewish doctor – an immigrant from the United States and resulted in prolonged curfews, restrictions on movement for Palestinians, the closing of their shops and marketplaces, and a pattern of impunity for settler violence. Since then Israel has continued with its policy of punishing those who are being attacked.

The center of the city is deserted and in ruins. You have to visit there, repeatedly, in order to begin to understand not only how it looks but the understand the  impact of the 120 blockades and checkpoints that cut off abandoned streets in the middle in the centre of the Old City.

This video was made by the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel, documenting education under occupation through the eyes of some young students and teachers in Hebron.

 

 

 

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Trivia with a Cause

shuhadacelebhrHelp us raise money to support our education projects in Hebron and the surrounding areas.

Trivia Night, Fri 30 Jan: http://tinyurl.com/hebrontrivia15
Bookings: http://tinyurl.com/booktrivia2015

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Living in the path of settlers

There is a military watch box on the roof of the Shamsiya house, making the roof a closed military zone and the family is forbidden to access it. For security reasons the Israeli military will search the house on a regular basis. On Saturdays, there is a tour for settlers through Hebron and the settlers from the Tel Rumeida settlement walk past the Shamsiya house. They access the roof and have damaged the water tanks. They throw stones at the family below and their daughter was knocked unconscious after being hit by a rock thrown by a settler. The Israeli military do not stop the settlers from being on the roof. The family are part of the “shoot back” camera project, run by the Israeli Human Rights organisation B’tselem. Vulnerable families are given cameras to document attacks on them and their property.

In the following 9 minute film, Yuval Orr shows what the daily life is like for 15-year-old Awni Abu Shamsiya as he attempts to maintain some shred of normalcy in his hometown of Hebron.

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Trivia With A Cause

pster2aYou’ve saved the date and now its time to get serious – time for commitment!

Another fabulous Trivia With A Cause  to raise funds for the Dkaika community education access project.

Bookings:  http://tinyurl.com/booktrivia2015
Date:
 Friday January 30, 2015
Time: 6pm for a 6.30pm start
Address: Gumbramorra Hall, Addison Road Community Centre, 142 Addison Road Marrickville

Background

dkaika village

Dkaika village

Dkaika has been fighting for its existence with the Israeli government for a decade. It has been demolished, rebuilt and faced yet again with demolition orders. In 2011, they even demolished part of the school.

Since then, UNICEF and Islamic Relief Worldwide have rebuilt and renovated the school, providing a better environment for the students. However it is a primary school only; after Year 6 students must travel at least 7 km for high school.

 

Driver in Dkaika taking the young boys to school - the girls get to sit inside!

Driver in Dkaika taking the young boys to school – the girls get to sit inside!For years, the students have walked this distance, over rough mountain tracks, in the heat of summer and through winter snow. Now we are supporting a driver and vehicle, to take those kids to high school.

The aim of this Trivia with a Cause is to raise sufficient funds to ensure the fuel and the driver’s wages are paid until the end of the school year, and if possible, into next year.

girltransport

Young woman from Dkaika on her way to university,

Now that the school transport scheme is operating, three young women from Dkaika village are  able to take up their university places.  After dropping off the high school kids, the driver continues to the nearest university so these young women can continue their studies.

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Trivia with a Cause

Driver in Dkaika taking the young boys to school

Driver in Dkaika taking the young boys to school

Hold the date! Join us for our upcoming trivia night to raise funds for the Dkaika community education access project.

Date: Friday January 30, 2015

Time: 6pm for a 6.30pm start

Address: Gumbramorra Hall, Addison Road Community Centre, 142 Addison Road Marrickville

The Dkaika community has one school that offers education only until the 6th grade. It is considered to be a landmark as it has allowed the community to survive through the provision of the very basic service of education. The problem lies in what comes after the 6th grade.  The long distance between the primary and high schools over the rugged desert road has meant a daily trip on foot through the mountains. Such a trip has made the participation of (specifically female) students in the educational process less likely. In 2014 funds raised by Leichhardt Friends of Hebron supported six female school students and two female university students with their ongoing education through this project.

Come to the trivia night and help us raise funds for the safe transportation of the children and young students in Dkaika.

Early bird ticket prices are $25 waged/$15 unwaged

Tickets after January 23 and on the door are $30 waged and $20 unwaged

Want to get in early? Click here and book tickets online now

 

 

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School children in Hebron don’t battle traffic jams, they battle tear gas

Stun grenades at children

Since the beginning of the school year in August over one hundred tear gas grenades have been used against the children. Tear gas works by irritating mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, mouth and lungs, and causes crying, sneezing, coughing, difficulty breathing, pain in the eyes, and temporary blindness.

2nd October 2014 | International Solidarity Movement | Hebron, Occupied Palestine

“The child are having problems concentrating on their school work due to their emotional state and the stress due to the daily attacks by the occupation forces, which are continuously escalating.” Stated Hebron teacher, Shukri Zaroo, to the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).

Children in al-Khalil (Hebron) are forced to pass through a military checkpoint each morning and afternoon in order to reach and leave their schools. International activists try to monitor these military checkpoints, both to document the events and to stand with the children.

ISM activists monitor the Salaymeh checkpoint (29) each school day morning and afternoon. Since school began on August 24th, this is what the ISM activists have witnessed:

August 25thIsraeli forces fired 15 tear gas grenades and canisters, as well as five stun grenades at children as they waited to go to school. Tear gas drifted into the courtyard and many children and teachers choked and spluttered in the playground. School was delayed for over an hour. At one point a Red Crescent ambulance had to be called as two teachers and two children, aged 10 and 12-years-old, required medical treatment for excessive tear gas inhalation.

For the full story of what has been going on in Hebron at the start of the school year, click here.

This video shows the children in the midst of being fired upon with tear gas by soldiers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdhDVxHbDg8#t=70

 

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AUTHORITIES DEMOLISH 9 STRUCTURES IN KHIRBET AR-RAHWA IN THE SOUTH HEBRON HILLS

From Rabbis for Human Rights and Operation Dove  – this article about the ongoing and systematic destruction of houses and structures in Area C of the West Bank – 38 persons lost their homes, including 21 children. The continuous displacement and loss of land and livelihood occurs on a daily basis in the West Bank, and as the Gaza massacre starts to fade from the media cycle, the opportunity to seize a thousand acres of land near Bethlehem is taken for expansion of settlements.

The following update on demolitions in Khirbet ar-Rahma comes Operation Dove, an Italian NGO that focuses on the South Hebron Hills. Khirbet ar-Rahma is a small and poor Palestinian village in Area C of the occupied territories. Since its location in Area C means it is under full Israeli control, the villagers are subjected to the Israeli military planning system that blocks almost every Palestinian attempt at building and developing within their village. Whatever is built,  is demolished every now and again, as demonstrated by this most recent demolition.  In the background of thephotos, please note the  new Jewish settlement, some of  which is illegal by the Israeli law,  but nevertheless is permitted to stay intact. This is an example of institutionalized discrimination, and demonstrates why RHR submitted an appeal to the High Court of Justice to return planning authority to the Palestinians in Area C. 

September 1 2014 demolition at Khirbet ar-Rahwa with Israeli settlement in background. PHOTO: Operation Dove

From Operation Dove:

UPDATE 2014-09-01: IDF DEMOLISHED 9 STRUCTURE IN THE VILLAGE OF KHIRBET AR-RAHWA
38 persons lost their home, 21 of them children

Khirbet ar Rahwa – On 1st of September 2014, during the afternoon, the Israeli army and the D.C.O. (District Coordination Office) entered into the palestinian village of Khirbet ar-Rahwa, in the South Hebron Hills, and demolished 3 houses (tents), 3 animal shelters and 3 toilettes. No demolition order was delivered for these structures.

September 1 2014 demolition at Khirbet ar-Rahwa in the South Hebron Hills. PHOTO: Operation Dove

All the demolished structures were built with simple materials. Ar-Rawha that is located in area C, has no access to electricity, to the water pipeline and to any kind of facilities and services.
The houses belonged to the Altal family and to the Jabaarin family. Because of the demolitions, 38 persons, 21 of them children, lost their houses. All the families are waiting for humanitarian aid.

The village of ar-Rahwa is surrounded by the settlement of Tene and the outpost of Havat Moor. This outpost received demolition order in 2000, but the D.C.O decided to not demolish any house until now. Also the outpost is connected with the electricity net and water pipelines, services that are denied for the Palestinians of ar-Rawha, who are the legal owners of the land where the settlement of Tene is located.

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Refugee Week fundraiser continues to support education projects in Hebron

The world has witnessed over the last seven weeks the unbearable horrors of the bombardment and whole scale destruction of the Gaza Strip. UNOCHA confirms the deaths of 2,104 Palestinians, including 1,462 civilians, of whom 495 are children and 253 are women. These people are not a list of numbers, or statistics or faceless individuals. Please see this link that lists the names, ages of the children that have been senselessly and so ruthlessly killed in the bombardment of Gaza, and may we keep remembering forever the sound of their joy and mischief, captured so beautifully in this poem:

“Oh rascal children of Gaza. You who constantly disturbed me with your screams under my window. You who filled every morning with rush and chaos. You who broke my vase and stole the lonely flower on my balcony. Come back, and scream as you want and break all the vases. Steal all the flowers. Come back..Just come back..”

— Khaled Juma, a Palestinian poet from Gaza

The sheer scale of the devastation is overwhelming, and over 350,000 children in Gaza require specialised psycho-social support to deal with the high levels of trauma they are experiencing. An estimated 230 schools have been damaged and around 500,000 children will be unable to start the school year.

In all this devastation, we are constantly reminded of the strength and sumud (steadfastness) of the Palestinian people. Through this time, our partner Hamed from the Hebron International Resource Network has been working tirelessly to bring countless projects come to fruition, including the ongoing support for the Tel Rumeida kindergarten and the Dkaika education project.

As a result of the Festival Fundraiser, Leichhardt Friends of Hebron have been able to provide some assistance to Hamed’s projects. Hamed writes:

“ We, the people of Hebron, do sincerely thank you for all of your efforts supporting the educational activities in Hebron City and Governorate in general. We are looking forward for continued cooperation in the short and long terms. The raised funds for this year will be used to pay the salaries of two teachers at the Shuhada Street Kindergarten, a janitor, as well as the salary of a driver from the marginalized community of Dkaika who is tasked with providing  transportation to at least 8 students (mostly girls) to their school located 8 kilometers away. Your contribution is ESSENTIAL in making these small little dreams come true  “

playground equipment in Tel RumeidaWith help from local group Youth Against Settlements playground equipment was brought into the Tel Rumeida kindergarten in the middle of the night and assembled – a necessary strategy to ensure that the volunteers were not harassed and stopped by settlers. The photos below show the dedication of the people in Hebron to bring education to some of the most vulnerable children in the area, as well as some much needed equipment to play with.playground equipment in Tel Rumeida 2

 

Leichhardt Friends of Hebron thank all our supporters who assist us in these vital projects. These projects are two of many that HIRN is involved with, and through your generosity we can continue to ensure we are supporting young children and their right to education.

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