Saturday, October 26 2002 Joint Palestinian-Jewish convoy and march In South Hebron

On Saturday, October 26th, Ta’ayush wished to conduct a joint Palestinian-Jewish convoy and march In South Hebron


BACKGROUND:


The settlers of the Maon settlements have been preventing for months now from the children of South Hebron access to the direct path leading to their schools. The settlers are throwing stones and beating the children that dare pass on this path close to which the settlemnts were erected. In order to avoid these acts of violence the children walk now at least 7 kilometers on each way to school and back, on a bypass path; about two hours in each direction.

Due to this situation about a third of the pupils have stopped going to school since last winter. Obviously it’s the younger ones that stopped going – the six and seven year olds, the ones that find it hardest to bear the dangers and obstacles on their way to school.

We must remember that these events do not happen without any context, but are part of a rationale that aims to eventually make the Palestians leave. Other actions aimed in this same direction include the destruction of farmland, blocking of wells, shooting on livestock, etc. The final aim is the expulsion of these Palestinian cave dwellers.

The army, backed by the setllers, actually tried to expell them in the fall of 2,000 & summer of 2001. This move was temporarily stopped by the high court. The next court hearing regarding this matter will take place on November 6th.

It is important to bear in mind that this sort of action by the settlers does not happen only in South Hebron, and that children all over the Palestinian occupied territories suffer of settlers’ violence. Many schools lay now beyond walls, fences, closures etc. Children are in danger today more than ever. Even for those who are not under constant curfew, the mere going to school becomes a dangerous act, if not an impossible one. ‎

On October 16th, 2002 Mahmud Mahmara, the principal of the elementary school, described the situation in the South Hebron area: “The school is just east of Yata. The children of the area are repeatedly exposed to attacks by settlers. On February 12, 2002, for example, a settler from Maon threw rocks at the children. Two were wounded in their legs, and one student, Rahma Ibrahim Ali Awad, was wounded in the head. She was rushed to the medical center in Yata where she was treated (…) We are calling on all those who have a conscience, wherever they are, to come stand by our side and show solidarity, and help us enable our children to return to the roads they used to take (…) This is for the protection of our children, so they don’t drop out of school, and to protect their basic human right to education. We ask you to stand by our side, so we can bring justice and peace to the land of peace.”


The convoy reaches Amasa Mountain junction on the way to south of mount Hebron, but meets large police force awaiting and blocking the way, claiming it is a “closed military zone”.

Soon enough the “closed military zone” is revealed as closed only to Ta’ayush activists, but not to settlers. The negotiation with the police leads nowhere, therefore only the water trucks and the school equipment are allowed to pass and reach A-Tuwina – the original destination.

The rest of the convoy is heading towards Khirbet Markaz instead, where we  hear from it’s palestinian inhabitans about the ongoing harassments by the Israeli army and settlers.

At the same time the water trucks reaches their destination at A-Tuwina and fills the wells.