School children in the occupied West Bank town of Hebron were attacked by the Israeli Defence Force with tear gas and sound grenades on their way to school last Sunday. The attack happened after a group of children threw stones at the soldiers. The soldiers then used tear gas, causing not only the few children who had been throwing stones to flee, but all the children crossing the checkpoint on their way to school.

Soldiers then blockaded the school entrance and continued to fire tear gas at the frightened children. This is not the first time that such  tactics have been used on school children in Hebron. Moreover 27  children in the town between the ages of 7 and 15 were taken from Hebron schools by soldiers in a single incident last year for allegedly throwing stones at soldiers. Hebron is well within Palestine but a large number of Israeli settlers live there, who are protected by the army. Children in the town frequently suffer harrassment from both settlers and soldiers.

There are other obstacles in the way of children getting to school in the West Bank. In Khirbet Qlks, south of Hebron, children have to travel long distances and climb over high mounds of earth to get to school, because the route to the school has been cut off by Israeli road blocks. And many children have to go through checkpoints to get to their schools, sometimes being forced to wait for long periods and sometimes being turned back.

The human rights abuses against children in occupied Palestine are documented by Defence for Children International, which reports that the average number of children held in Israeli military detention in 2013 was 199. The 2011 conference of Education International in Capetown, condemned such abuses.