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Israeli soldiers harass Palestinian teachers and collect student fingerprints

Members of the Israeli security forces gather at the main entrance of a Palestinian school in the West Bank on 15 October 2018 [JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP/Getty Images]
Members of the Israeli security forces gather at the main entrance of a Palestinian school in the West Bank on 15 October 2018 [JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP/Getty Images]

Israeli soldiers detained two Palestinian teachers as they were heading to their school this morning. The incident happened near the village of Taqu, south-east of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.

Morad Abu Muffareh, a teacher at the school, told Wafa that the soldiers often provoke teachers and students by being stationed around the premises. “They threaten to storm the school under false pretences,” he added. “There are numerous examples of Israeli aggression against the school.” They include troops firing tear gas into the school playground where children play football; patrolling the area and preventing students and teachers from entering school grounds; and detaining teachers and students for interrogation.

Moreover, soldiers briefly detained a number of students from the same school and took their fingerprints on Sunday. The students were on their way to school at the time.

The procedure followed days of clashes in the village as well as in other areas of the occupied region between Palestinian protesters and Israeli troops, in the aftermath of the unveiling of US President Donald Trump’s so-called “peace plan”.

READ: PA to stop security cooperation with Israel if US ‘peace deal’ is applied

While most of the violations at the school were committed by the Israeli army, explained Abu Muffareh, on several occasions during the first semester armed Israeli settlers also entered the school grounds, escorted by soldiers, and harassed and threatened students.

Students attending schools targeted by the Israeli army and settlers have reported being in a “constant state of panic”; “always feeling tired”; having “great difficulty” in focusing on lessons; and having “less motivation” to attend school, with a resultant increase in violent behaviour.

The Palestinian village of Taqu has been subject to frequent military incursions, in addition to the repeated attacks by illegal colonial-settlers.

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