Checkpoint picked as PA classroom site

Classes held near volatile Hebron checkpoint to protest "intrusive searches".

Palestinian schoolteachers taught pupils in the road outside an IDF checkpoint in the West Bank city of Hebron on Wednesday to protest what they consider to be unnecessarily intrusive searches of the children on their way to school. Israeli soldiers search bags and make children lift their shirts before passing through the checkpoint on the way to school. The IDF says the high-tech checkpoint, which includes metal detectors and an X-ray scanner, is in an area where terrorist activity has been high. About 200 children and 10 teachers began protesting at the checkpoint at 7 a.m. Some took part in the classes, and dozens of others tried to burst through the checkpoint, but soldiers shoved them back. The military said protesters hurled a firebomb and rocks. No injuries were reported. Pupils carried signs reading, "We have the right to learn," We have the right to pass to our school," and "We want to go to school." Others carried posters of the late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat. On Tuesday, soldiers fired tear gas to disperse some 300 schoolchildren who protested at the checkpoint. Palestinian Education Minister Mohammed Qawasmeh said pupils regularly arrive late for classes and are forced to stand outside in poor weather while waiting to clear the checkpoint's gates every morning.