Israeli Forces Threaten to Arrest School Students in West Bank

In early period of the new academic year, Israeli soldiers have continuously attacked Palestinian schools in West Bank. The soldiers always stand at the Palestinian school gates and oftentimes, arrest and intimidate them without reason.

Palestine educational crisis.
The arrest of a Palestinian student by Israeli armed forces. (Reuters/Mussa Qawasma)

ACTNews, WEST BANK – It has become a public secret that the Israeli army never has an exception in assaulting the Palestinians including school students. School students in West Bank tend to be arrested and intimidated for no reason.

Since the start of the school year in September, the Israeli army's assaults on the students have risen. Over a period of close to two months, 15 students were arrested, some detained for several hours, while others spent several days in detention.

Assaults on schoolchildren from the Al-Sawiya/Al-Lubban which is one of the oldest Palestinian schools in Nablus, West Bank have increased following the building of a road leading to an illegal Jewish settlement.

At the school gates of the Al-Sawiya/Al-Lubban Mixed Secondary School, two Israeli soldiers stand with their rifles, while a number of troops line the sidewalks of settler highway 60, the only road that leads to the school. 

This is the daily reality for 420 Palestinian students from the villages of al-Sawiya and Lubban al-Sharqiya, south of the occupied city of Nablus. Schoolchildren are detained, arrested, persecuted, and intimidated on a regular basis, while at times their school has been raided by the army, attacked with tear gas bombs, and even shut down completely. 

Jaafar Fadi Balouta, 13, walked quickly with his friend between two soldiers blocking the narrow pavement. 

"We pass by this road every day, full of soldiers, and there is no other alternative for me to take,” Balouta told Middle East Eye. “Soldiers accuse us of throwing stones, and they are all around this area during the morning hours and when we leave the school."

Balouta, who dreams of becoming an engineer worries if one day, those soldiers will shut his school up. "I often think that they might close our school and stop me and the rest of the students from continuing our studies and achieving our dreams,” Balouta added. 

According to the school principal, Yasser Ghazi, the school has witnessed assaults by the Israeli army since the building of settler route 60. Over the past three years, and particularly this year, the frequency of attacks on the school has risen. He said in addition to the heavy presence of soldiers on the road, the school is exposed to other types of daily attacks, such as raiding the school, assaulting students and staff, in addition to the detention and arrests of students. 

Yasser explains that the army targets students aged 12-14 for arrest, often refusing to release them until their families pay heavy fines.[]