Children in the occupied West Bank area of Palestine are finding it more and more difficult to access education. In Hebron, international observers have seen children being bullied on their way to school, both by settlers and by soldiers pretending to shoot at them. Some were physically attacked by settlers. Moreover tear gas was used against the children so close to school buildings that it drifted into the classrooms and one teacher had to be hospitalised after inhaling the fumes. The school was closed for the day as a result.

As though this was not enough, film has emerged this week, taken by a teacher, of Israeli soldiers entering schools and searching children for stones. In another incident, this time in Jenin, tear gas canisters and stun grenades were fired inside a boys secondary school. 

The situation in Gaza is if anything even worse, since 223 schools were either damaged or destroyed by Israeli shelling last year. 

According to the human rights organisation Defense for Children International (DCI), ten Palestinian children have been shot dead this month, six of them involved in alleged knife attacks. As DCI points out: 'Israeli authorities have not handed over the bodies of the children killed while carrying out alleged knife attacks to their families. Beyond the punitive nature of the action, it has made verifying the details and circumstances of the incidents more difficult.' Israel seems to have instituted a shoot to kill policy, in contravention of international law. Reports say that as many as 200 children have been injured in this month alone.

School authorities are doing their best to provide psychological support to help the children come to terms with the continuous exposure to violence and oppression.