Israeli Soldiers Fire Teargas inside Bethlehem Elementary School

BETHLEHEM, December 9, 2015 (WAFA) – A number of Palestinian students Wednesday suffocated after inhaling teargas fired by Israeli armed soldiers inside an elementary school in the village of Husan to the west of Bethlehem, said an official source.

Head of Husan village council, Hasan Hamamreh, told WAFA that Israeli soldiers fired teargas canisters, and concussion grenades inside the campus and classrooms of a boys’ elementary school while students were still inside.

Several suffocation cases were reported among students, including severe cases that required medical attention.

Clashes reportedly broke out in the vicinity of the school, following the army’s attack; however, no further injuries were reported.

Targeting Palestinian students is a widespread practice by Israeli forces; schools and other educational facilities are usually attacked with total disregard of international law that governs the protection rights of children.

According to al-Haq human rights group, “Alongside international human rights law, Israel, as an Occupying Power, is bound by the provisions of international humanitarian law to ensure protection and functioning of educational institutions.”

“Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that protected persons shall at all times be humanely treated, and shall be protected especially against all acts of violence or threats thereof.”

A report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (A/69/926–S/2015/409) issued on June 5, 2015, said that, “The reporting period saw a dramatic increase in the number of children killed and injured, especially in Gaza. At least 561 children (557 Palestinian; 4 Israeli) were killed and 4,271 injured (4,249 Palestinian; 22 Israeli).”

The security-General urged Israel “to take concrete and immediate steps, including by reviewing existing policies and practices, to protect children, to prevent the killing and maiming of children, and to respect the special protections afforded to schools and hospitals.”