Protecting the students of At-Tuwani
Since 2004, Operazione Colomba volunteers have been living in the Palestinian village of At-Tuwani. The presence of the volunteers is necessary because they monitor every day the Israeli military escort that accompanies the Palestinian children in a 3km walk to school, as well as denouncing the violations of Human Rights that too often happen in those places and that continue to increase. Support our volunteers to ensure the children and families there are safe and secure.
Fatmi, Omar, Amira, Nur, are just some of the Palestinian children from the villages of Tuba and Maghayir al Abeed. They are between 6 and 17 years old and have a great desire: to go to school in peace.
Their villages, located among the arid hills near Hebron, in the southern West Bank, are small, dignified but essential: life is mainly marked by sheep farming. The nearest school, the only one in the whole area, is in the village of At-Tuwani, about 3 km away, a twenty-minute walk that the children, all together, have to make every day, early in the morning to go to school, in the afternoon to go home.
Up to this point it would seem a common story. The territories touched during this journey, however, fall within the territories of the Israeli occupation: Ma'on and Havat Ma'on. Ma'on is an Israeli colony, Havat Ma'on an outpost next to it, the beginning of the occupation of other Palestinian lands. This is illegal under international law, the outposts even under Israeli law, which, however, shrugs off expansionist aims that are anything but hidden.
Ma'on and Havat Ma'on are right there, on those 3 km to be covered on foot: 3 km of "apnea" and fear for a group of children who want to go to school, looking among the books for the redemption of a life, of a community, of a history.
Several times the children have been chased, threatened, beaten and many others have been prevented from passing along that road: "this land is ours, go away!". Unfortunately, there are no major alternatives: the only other option is to take a much longer road, which would force the children to walk for over an hour under the scorching sun of the southern West Bank.
For more than fifteen years, Operazione Colomba's Peace Workers have been living in At-Tuwani with the aim, among others, of monitoring the Israeli military escort who never misses a chance to fail its mandate: he often shows up late, making the children lose hours of school, or he doesn't show up at all, forcing the children to choose between the risk of being attacked and not attending classes.
Thepresence of OC volunteers is a sigh of relief for these children: constant monitoring; requests to the military base when the escort is late; waiting together; walking alongside them (as a civilian, international and non-violent escort) when the military does not show up, ready, in case of attack, to intervene and record any violation... all this is a source of greater security for the young schoolchildren of Tuba and Maghayir al Abeed.
This is why we ask you to support the presence of at least two of our volunteers in that area, so that they can constantly monitor this situation and accompany these children and young people on their path towards a different future.