Palestinian school children from Al-Jalazun refugee camp in the central occupied West Bank face violence and disruption thanks to the proximity of their school to the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El.
According to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, “frequent clashes between Israeli security forces and the Palestinian residents have long since become part of daily life in the area.”
Israeli occupation forces “use teargas, rubber-coated metal bullets and, in some cases, live fire”, B’Tselem continued, adding that camp residents, including minors, “have been killed and injured”.
In addition to casualties, “the teargas and gunfire also disrupt life in the camp in general, and school life in particular”, with teargas canisters often landing “near the schools, sometimes in the very schoolyard”.
Teargas “wafts into the classrooms, causing breathing difficulties among both students and teachers”, and “sometimes, the entire school day must be cancelled”.
In addition, B’Tselem added, “the firing of teargas canisters, rubber-coated metal bullets and live rounds generate an atmosphere fear and tension among the students.”
Al-Jalazun refugee camp is located north of Ramallah and has a population of some 14,000, around 5,000 of whom are children. Near the south-eastern entrance to the camp are two UNRWA-run schools, one for boys and one for girls.
In 1977, the settlement of Beit El was built near the camp, “which led to permanent military presence in the area, observation towers and patrols along the nearby road and the area between the road and the settlement,” B’Tselem explained.
All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.