Children Endangered Due to Delay in Army Escort

AT-TUWANI, HEBRON, October 2, 2013 (WAFA) – The life of 10 Palestinian children were put in danger on Tuesday when the Israeli army failed to dispatch a patrol to escort them from school to home, an international peace group said Wednesday.

Operation Dove, a group of international volunteers operating in the South Hebron Hill since 2004, said the Israeli military left 10 Palestinian children from Tuba and Magayir Al-Abeed alone on their way back from school.

Normally an army patrol accompanies the children on a road that passes between the settlement of Ma’on and the outpost of Havat Ma’on to prevent an attack against them by the hardcore settlers.

However, the children had to wait for the army escort near Havat Ma’on for almost two hours to escort them on a short road that would take them only 20 minutes to walk through to reach their homes.

When the escort failed to arrive in spite of calls by the volunteers and Israeli associations, the children decided to take a longer walk that would take them more than one hour to reach their homes to avoid contact with the settlers. The children were accompanied by some internationals.

“This path is dangerous because it runs beside the outpost and along this way the children were repeatedly attacked and chased by the settlers,” said the statement by Operation Dove.

It said that this was not the first time the army escort was either late for a long time or did not show up and that since the beginning of the current school year the escort has rarely fulfilled its duty.

“On 61% of the mornings the children were late at school more than 5 minutes and on 69% of the school days they had to wait after the school for the military escort,” said the statement.

Also in most of the times, the Israeli military failed to fully complete the escort all the way until the children were far from the settlements endangering as a result the life of the children.

This military escort was established in November 2004 by ‘Children Rights Committee of the Knesset,” the Israeli parliament, to protect the children from the several attacks that they have suffered since 2001 by settlers of Havat Ma’on on the route to the school. To avoid the attacks, the children were using a path two hours long.