Border Guards Order Children Off School Bus

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MA'ALEH LEVONA, Israel - Border guards ordered first to seventh grade children off their school bus on Tuesday, telling them to walk the rest of the way home, despite the heavy rain.

The guards stopped the bus about a mile from Ma'aleh Levona, a Jewish community north of Ramallah. When the children arrived home, they saw a confrontation going on with other border guards.

Residents later reported the school bus incident to the Knesset Committee on Rights of the Child, which convened an emergency session Tuesday evening.

At the meeting, a 12-year-old child told the committee a border guard grabbed him and threw him aside. He said his backpack cushioned his fall.

A second child said the border guards used stun grenades against them.

"The children were subjected to unfathomable violence," one mother said. "They've been terribly traumatized."

Committee chairman MK Danny Danon (Likud) said the Defense Ministry turned down his request to send a representative to hear eyewitness reports of the afternoon's events.

"The defense minister [Ehud Barak] ordered officers not to attend the meeting," Danon said. "Unfortunately this is not the first time that he has chosen to boycott a Knesset committee's work," he said.

Avi Roeh, head of the Binyamin Council, called the incident a violation of human rights.

"This is an unspeakable act," Roeh said. "What are these children supposed to think about the army? How are they supposed to enlist with this incident in mind?" he asked.

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Source: Ynet news

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