On 29 August, 2016, Israeli forces at Salaymeh checkpoint, in occupied Hebron fired rounds of tear gas as school-children attempted to make their way home through the heavily militarised checkpoint.
The Salaymeh checkpoint, for many school-children, is one of the unavoidable checkpoints on the daily way to school and back home. At the highly militarised structures, the children attending schools and kindergartens in the area, are subject to bag-searches, harassment, questioning and detention by Israeli forces.
On Monday, the second day of school after the 3-month summer holidays, as children were starting to pour out of the schools around noon, Israeli forces threw a stun grenade towards a group of children. Instead, it landed right in front of a girl quietly making her way towards the checkpoint on her way home. Scared by the stun grenade flying towards her and the lound boom of the explosion she ran away in the opposite direction in tears. In the meantime, at the checkpoint, children were repeatedly yelled at ‘to wait’ as Israeli forces refused to open the gate for them to go through the checkpoint in order to reach the other side. Israeli forces were heard yelling at children several times, and ordered a few boys to show them their hands in order to ‘prove’ stone-throwing, if they are having dirty hands.
Just a little later, Israeli forces fired rounds of tear gas in the direction of the schools, thus collectivly punishing not only all the school-children, but the whole neighborhood. As the tear gas canisters spread their supposedly ‘less-lethal’ gas and covered the area with the poisonous gas, some children escaped the clouds crying with their eyes red from the gas and coughing when choking on the gas.
This kind of excessive force and collective punishment by Israeli forces, is just one aspect of the Israeli military occupation these school-children are forced to endure on a daily basis.