This is an article from the International Solidarity Movement, a group we worked with in Hebron. It illustrates the insecurity of
Palestinian life under occupation and the injustice of this system. For years the teachers of Cordoba School have been allowed to use the side gate at checkpoint 56, but last week that changed abruptly, simply because the army said so. Because there is a metal detector inside the checkpoint, pregnant women and people with heart conditions have been allowed to use the gate to minimize health risks. Now even they are barred from using the side gate! There need be no other reason than what the soldiers always told us: “Security.” In protest the teachers and students held classes outside of the checkpoint — on the Palestinian controlled side. The Israelis sent in the Border Police to tear gas them. The police have manhandled young children from this elementary school, who were protesting non-violently.
For three months I stood inside this checkpoint and watched the teachers and children go through twice a day without incident. The teachers used the side gate and the soldiers checked their ID numbers. Now, not only are they restricted from doing so, but for refusing to go through the checkpoint, the army has closed their school.
The Palestinians are afraid that the Israeli settlers will try to take over the school, since in the past they have vandalized it and the homes nearby. If something is not done, then it is only a matter of time before this really does happen. This news makes me so angry and sad. I know these kids and teachers. They are kind and dedicated to this school that provides a good education to children living in difficult circumstances. These kids deserve an education and the teachers deserve to be treated with respect. Apparently even education is deemed a security risk by the Israeli army; so dangerous in fact, that they would deny it to small Palestinian children.