Palestinian children live in danger daily under Israeli Occupation. They don’t feel safe at home, on the streets, not even at school. This article focuses and shows how Israeli soldiers and Israeli settlers are targeting Palestinian children at schools and are even invading their classrooms. It reminds me of when I was a child attending the United Nations school in my refugee camp and we would rush to school to avoid the tear gas and bullets being fired. I remember soldiers raiding classrooms and arresting my classmates and beating our teacher right in front of our eyes. The same is still happening today.
West Bank school’s staff documented 65 Israeli violations during first semester, at least three more since January 24.
By Jacklynn Ashly
Nablus, occupied West Bank – School principal Mohammad Jaser presses a button to open the intercom system and makes a routine announcement.
“The Israeli army has been spotted near the premises,” Jaser says, his voice blaring from speakers and into the classrooms of the al-Sawiyeh al-Lebban school near Nablus in the northern West Bank last month.
“Stay inside your classrooms, away from the windows, and lock the doors,” he instructs the students. “Prepare for an evacuation.”
The students and teachers at the mixed school, located between the villages of al-Sawiyeh and al-Lebban, have been trained to respond to incidents like this.
The school is often the target of Israeli army activity in the area and has faced numerous incidents of armed settlers entering the premises and threatening students.Due to the high frequency of violence at the school, emergency drills and training have been implemented to teach students how to respond to the incursions.
“Now, when we spot Israeli soldiers or settlers around the school, students know exactly what to do,” Jaser said.
Students, for instance, receive training on how to lessen the effects of tear gas and some are trained to provide first aid to their injured peers during confrontations, he says.
‘They like to point their weapons at the students’
The al-Sawiyeh al-Lebban school serves about 500 students, including 20 girls, from the sixth grade until the 12th.
The school is located in Area C – which comprises about 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control – situated alongside Road 60, a shared Israeli-Palestinian road that cuts through the West Bank.
Israel’s illegal Eli settlement, located on nearby hilltops, almost completely surrounds the school.
Jaser, who has been principal of the school for three years, sifts through dozens of videos and pictures of security incidents on his computer.
“This is when they came to arrest one of the students,” Jaser said, as he played a video showing Israeli soldiers handcuffing a student outside the school and leading him to an Israeli army jeep.