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Israeli police raid East Jerusalem school looking for stone-throwing students

Oct. 31, 2016 3:03 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 31, 2016 8:33 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces raided a middle school in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Monday and tried to detains students accused of throwing stones before summoning two school principals for interrogation.

Issam al-Abbasi, a secretary of the Silwan parents committee, said Israeli forces raided the building of the Silwan middle school for boys, reportedly searching for boys accused of rock throwing.

Abbasi added that Israeli police also summoned the principal of the Silwan middle school, Salah al-Awar, and Silwan elementary school principal Samer al-Ghoul for questioning at the Israeli police station on Salah al-Din Street near the Old City of Jerusalem.

Abbasi condemned Israeli forces’ targeting of young Palestinian students in the nearby Ras al-Amoud neighborhood by stationing every day on the street where nine schools and kindergartens serving 5,000 students are located.

He said that Israeli police went to the street on a daily basis and searched students, scaring the children, while also excessively issuing traffic tickets in the street, causing traffic jams which make many students late to school, and impeding their right to a safe educational environment.

Meanwhile, Israeli police said in a statement that eight residents of the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Silwan and al-Tur, three of them minors, had been detained on Monday.

Earlier this month, Israeli forces detained 10 Palestinian teenagers, whom Israeli police accused of throwing rocks, and a principal at a high school in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Israeli authorities have also dramatically escalated their crackdown on Palestinian youth who are caught throwing rocks, with Israel passing a law last year setting sentences up to 20 years in prison for stone throwing if intent to harm could be proven, and a minimum prison sentence of three years for throwing a stone at an Israeli.

However, Palestinians have claimed that rock throwing by teenagers is a natural reaction to frustrations caused by the nearly half-century Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which manifests itself through nightly military raids into Palestinian communities, arbitrary detentions, home demolitions, and frequent killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces.

The Palestinian Committee of Prisoners' Affairs said in September that at least 1,000 Palestinian minors between the ages of 11 and 18 had been detained by Israel since January, including around 70 children from occupied East Jerusalem who were placed under house arrest.

Interrogations of Palestinian children can last up to 90 days according to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, during which in addition to being beaten and threatened, cases of sexual assault and placement in solitary confinement to elicit confessions are also often reported, while confession documents they are forced to sign are in Hebrew -- a language most Palestinian children do not speak.
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