Israelis systematically terrorizing school children
an appeal from the South Hebron Hills, Occupied Territory

by <george.salzman@umb.edu> 2009-04-16
this page is at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/t/2009-04-16.htm

    Ehud Krinis is one of those Israeli Jews who acts in anarchist fashion by working together with nomads, Palestinian Bedouins, in direct action. They are struggling against Israeli efforts to drive them from their land by wrecking their homes and preventing their sheep from grazing in their traditional areas, and, as added incentive, by attacking their school children.[1]


Caption for picture.[2]

      The urgent communiction from Ehud follows:
Subject: Tuba kids walking back home from school - A recent CPT report and public call [3]
From: Ehud Krinis <ksehud@gmail.com>
Date: 14 April 2009 10:53 a.m.

      I added a few photos that I took yesterday to the following report and public call. I hope the pictures illustrate a bit the problems described in the call.

Ehud Krinis
Villages Group
http://villagesgroup.wordpress.com/

      Of utmost concern for CPT and Operation Dove is the safe travel of Palestinian school children who walk from the nearby villages of Tuba and Magaher-al-Abeed to At-Tuwani’s elementary school. These school children face a treacherous daily walk past the illegal Israeli settlement of Ma’on and the illegal outpost of Havat Ma’on. For years, armed adult settlers have attacked, threatened and harassed the children along the path from Tuba to Tuwani. In 2004 the Knesset recommended that the Israeli military provide the children with an armed escort. However, since settlers constructed a gate across the road one year ago, the escort soldiers have refused to walk with the children far enough to ensure their safety.


Caption for picture.[2]

      In the past two weeks internationals working with Operation Dove and Christian Peacemaker Teams have twice witnessed settlers grazing sheep directly in the path of the children at the time they walk home from school. Because the children have been physically attacked in the past, and threatened with death by settlers earlier this school year, they are terrified by the presence of these settlers.

      Since an incident on March 24 in which settlers were present at the end of the children’s walk home, internationals and the children have repeatedly asked the soldiers to walk with the children until they are out of danger. On April 1 settlers again came onto the land between the outpost of Havat Ma’on and the village of Tuba while the children were walking. Members of CPT and Operation Dove were present and the children ran towards them crying and very frightened.

      Internationals now request that concerned people make calls to the
Communications office of the Southern District Commander of the Israeli Military. It is an Israeli phone number, (country code 972) 2 996 7200.


Caption for picture.[2].

      Please ask Commander BenMoha to instruct the soldiers who perform the escort of the Tuba and Magaher-al-Abeed school children to accompany the children all the way past the Ma’on chicken barns and past any settlers present. Please stress that this is particularly necessary because of the repeated presence of settlers in this area at the time of the children’s walk home, and remind the commander that settlers used violence against the school children on fourteen occasions in the 07-08 school year and on two occasions during the current school year.

      For a complete report on the school escort, including maps, photographs and interviews with the children, please see “A Dangerous Journey”

      In addition to phone calls, Operation Dove and CPT ask that people send the IDF Public Appeals office a simple message. This is very easy to do.
Please include Commander BenMoha’s name in the subject line.
Sample message: (no more than 75 words)

Subject: Request to Commander BenMoha
    Palestinian school children from Tuba and Magaher-al-abeed must walk past militant settlers from Ma’on and Havat Ma’on to attend school in At-Tuwani.
    The Knesset recommended in 2004 that the IDF escort these children. Currently soldiers refuse to escort the children far enough to ensure their safety. In order to do so they must accompany the children all the way past the Ma’on chicken barns and past any settlers present.
    IDF Public Appeals Fax: 011-972-3-569-9400.
    IDF Public Appeals Phone: 011-972-3-569-1000.


NOTES
[1] . The Villages Group includes Ehud Krinis, among others – Jews and Palestinians – whose commitment is to work non-violently to build infrastructure and otherwise contribute to the well-being of these shephard communities. I think it was about a year or so ago that I first learned of their existence from a friend in the Israeli group, Anarchists Against the Wall, when they were seeking contributions to help equip a girls’ basketball team. Ehud was involved. The Villages Group website has information about a small solar energy project that provides light in several tents where the shephards live. See http://villagesgroup.wordpress.com/.

[2] Picture captions. I wrote to several of the folks of the Villages Group asking for captions, so that the pictures will be even more informative, but have not as yet had a reply to that request. Obviously they’re working under a lot of pressure because of the ongoing threats to the school children. Because of the urgency of the appeal, I decided to post this article slightly incomplete, i.e. lacking photo captions.

[3] CPT, the acronym for Christian Peacemaker Teams. The CPT website at http://www.cpt.org/ reports, “in: Palestine, (Juwayya, South Hebron Hills, West Bank) At 4:00 pm on 5 April 2009, “Israeli soldiers and the Ma’on settlement security guard took three Palestinian boys—ages ten, eleven, and fourteen—and transported them to the Ma'on settlement. Soldiers delivered the children to six masked settlers who kicked and punched the children. At 4:45, the children arrived back in their village, after the settlers allowed them to leave to walk home through the hills alone.”

==================================
George Salzman is a former American Jew living in Oaxaca, Mexico, an Emeritus Prof of Physics, Univ of Massachusetts-Boston.

All comments and criticisms are welcome.    <george.salzman@umb.edu>

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