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Soldiers Negligence Exposes Children to Risks, says Operation Dove

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AT-TUWANI, SOUTH HEBRON HILLS, December 27, 2012 (WAFA) - Israeli military escort that normally accompanies Palestinian children walking to school near Jewish settlements in the South Hebron Hills left 13 Palestinian children of Tuba and Magayir Al-Abeed alone along the way to school near the Israeli outpost of Havat Ma'on thus exposing them to life-threatening risk, a press statement said on Wednesday.

This path is dangerous because the children were repeatedly attacked by the settlers of the outpost, said the statement by Operation Dove, an international organization that has maintained presence in At-Tuwani and South Hebron Hills since 2004.

The army was over an hour late on the way to school and on the way back didn't arrive at all, without explanation, it added

After two hours of waiting between At-Tuwani and Havat Ma'on, some internationals accompanied the children home through a longer way (more than one hour instead of 20 minutes) in which the children were often attacked by settlers.

This military escort was established in November 2004 by Children Rights Committee of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, 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 one hour and half long.

In the last month the escort has rarely fulfilled its duty; the soldiers never completed the path; they walked with the children on the way, as required by the decisions of the Knesset, in only 30% of the cases. Furthermore, the children had to wait for the escort for over eight hours in total. This compromises their safety and their fundamental right to education, said Operation Dove.

M.S./F.R.

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