Israeli Soldiers Attack Students with Tear Gas, Suffocate Many

BETHLEHEM, March 31, 2015 (WAFA) – A number of Palestinian students Tuesday suffered suffocation by tear gas as Israeli soldiers assualted them while they were heading to their schools in the town of Taqou to the East of Bethlehem, according to security sources.

Sources told WAFA that Israeli forces intercepted students while they were heading to their schools in the early morning hours, firing tear gas canisters and stun grenades toward them, causing many to suffer from tear gas suffocation.

Israeli army previously carried out numerous attacks, with the deliberate and reckless use of force, against schools and educational facilities across the West Bank, in a serious violation of international law and students’ right to pursue education in a safe environment.

An increasing number of unarmed and peaceful Palestinians were either killed or seriously injured as a result of Israel’s constant use of tear gas against Palestinians.

To be noted, Defense for Children International (DCI) described the year 2014 as the most difficult year for Palestinian children due to the ongoing Israeli violations, mainly the 2014 summer aggression on the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, SAWA, a Palestinian non-governmental institution working for women’s and children’s rights stated in a press release issued in July 2014 that, “Children have the right to life and survival, non-discrimination, education, recreation, and safety.”

In the meantime, a special report issued by Al-Mizan Center for Human Rights said that Israel deliberately targeted intellectual property during its recent onslaught on Gaza in the summer of 2014. Jean Gough, UNICEF-oPt Special Representative said that, “Every child has the right to learn and grow in an environment where their health and safety are paramount.”

The Global Coalition to protect Education from Attack also said, “During situations of armed conflict, attacks on education may violate international humanitarian and criminal law and constitute war crimes (or crimes against humanity during war or peacetime) as set out in the 1907 Hague Regulations, the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and customary international humanitarian law.”

Constant pressure and harassment by settlers and Israeli military forces experienced by so many school children, as well as forced displacements and house demolitions, result in psychological distress.

“Access to a quality education is also a fundamental human right, regardless of the context. In the long term, a good education promotes peace and post-conflict reconstruction and helps young people develop the skills and qualifications they need to build lives for themselves and prosperity for their communities.”

“But perhaps most importantly, access to a safe place to study and learn can provide students with a sense of normalcy, routine, and calm amid the chaos of war,” said Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA).