On the evening of Tuesday, 22 August 2017, at around 7:00 P.M. Israeli Civil Administration officials and security forces arrived at the village of Jub a-Dib, southeast of Bethlehem. The forces demolished the community's recently constructed school building. The demolition, which ended around midnight, took place the night before the start of the Palestinian school year, and left eighty pupils without an educational facility. In previous years, the children of Jub a-Dib had to walk to school in the Dar Salah and Beit Ta'mir areas, outside the village.
The demolition of a school building the night before the start of the year epitomizes the administrative cruelty and systematic harassment by authorities designed to drive Palestinians from their land. In late June, the Civil Administration confiscated solar panels installed in Jub a-Dib by Israeli-Palestinian nonprofit Comet-ME and financed by the Dutch government, after Israel consistently shirked its obligation to connect the village to the electric grid.
The school consisted of six pre-fabs donated by the European Union, that the security forces dismantled and confiscated. The area was declared a closed military zone, and security forces used stun grenades to keep residents away.
Recently, Israeli authorities damaged two other educational facilities in Palestinian communities: in Abu a-Nuwar, on 9 August 2017, the Civil Administration confiscated solar panels donated by the international community, that provided electricity to the school and kindergarten.
On 21 August 2017, at around 5:00 A.M., Civil Administration personnel accompanied by around fifty soldiers, Police and Border Police officers arrived at the Badu al-Baba community which is located near al-‘Eizariyah, northeast of Jerusalem. They dismantled and confiscated a pre-fab that had been placed there around three weeks prior, to serve as a kindergarten for 25 local children aged 4-6, who do not have an alternative educational facility. The forces confiscated the equipment in the kindergarten: 10 desks, 30 chairs, two cabinets and a blackboard. The caravan and equipment were funded by the community and valued at approximately NIS 10,000.
Background on Jub a-Dib and the pervious confiscation: http://www.btselem.org/planning_and_building/confiscation_of_solar_panels_in_jub_a_dib
Photo: the platform the school structures stood on. Photo by Nasser Nawaj'a, B'Tselem For additional information: Roy Yellin, +972-54-4654431, firstname.lastname@example.org Our mailing address is B'Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories P.O. Box 53132, Jerusalem 9153002
---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: Becky Bakr Abdulla Date: Wed, Aug 23, 2017 at 3:32 PM Subject: Press Release: Israel demolishes Palestinian schools days before reopening To:
Please find below a press release on Israel demolishing Palestinian schools days before reopening.
We have spokespeople in Palestine available for interviews and can also facilitate visits to the affected areas. Photos of the affected schools can be downloaded for free use and distribution from here.
Please don’t hesitate to contact Media Adviser Karl Shembri, +962 7902 20159 or me should you have any questions.
Becky Bakr Abdulla Media Adviser Phone: +47 41613766 Email: email@example.com Skype: becky_bakr_abdulla Twitter: @BeckyBakr
Israel demolishes Palestinian schools days before reopening
Three educational facilities for Palestinian children in the West Bank, occupied Palestine, have been demolished or damaged by Israeli authorities in less than two weeks, just when children were meant to return to school from summer holidays.
The facilities demolished include the only kindergarten for the Jabal Al Baba Bedouin community, which was destroyed in the early hours of 21 August, and a primary school in Jubbet Al Dhib that was demolished on the night of 22 August. The Israeli authorities also dismantled and confiscated solar panels—the only source of power—at primary school in Abu Nuwar. The school was also attacked twice last year when parts of it were demolished and equipment confiscated. Third grade students there take their classes in the local barbershop as the community has been prevented from building basic education facilities.
NRC Policy Manager Itay Epshtain, who visited Jubbet Al Dhib this morning, said: “It was heart breaking to see children and their teachers turning up for their first day of school under the blazing sun, with no classrooms or anywhere to seek shelter in, while in the immediate vicinity the work to expand illegal settlements goes on uninterrupted.”
The latest spate of school demolitions and confiscations in the West Bank forms part of a wider attack on education in Palestine. Right now, some 55 schools in the West Bank are threatened with demolition and "stop-work" orders by Israeli authorities. Many of these schools are donor-funded, including by EU member states. Israel denies the majority of Palestinian planning permit requests in Area C, thereby leaving Palestinians with no option but to reconstruct and develop without permits, while Israeli settlements -established in violation of international law - continue to expand.
In the first three months of this year there were 24 cases of direct attacks against schools, including incidents where tear gas canisters and sound bombs were fired at students on their way to or from school. Last year, four communities’ educational facilities were demolished or confiscated and 256 education-related violations were documented in the West Bank, affecting over 29,000 students.
“Just when they were due to return to the classroom, Palestinian children are discovering that their schools are being destroyed,” said the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Country Director for Palestine, Hanibal Abiy Worku. “What threat do these schools pose to the Israeli authorities? What are they planning to achieve by denying thousands of children their fundamental right to education?”
Threats Palestinian children face on a daily basis include violence and harassment from settlers and Israeli soldiers, military activity inside or next to schools, delays crossing checkpoints, and the arrest of children from their classrooms.
Since 2011, the Israeli government has also threatened to withhold permits and funding to schools that are not implementing Israeli curriculums in which references to Palestinian identity and culture, the occupation, Israeli settlements and other aspects of Palestinian history were removed.
“We call on the governments and donors funding Palestinian children’s education to exercise all of their influence to prevent this violation in all its forms,” Abiy Worku said. “The destruction of educational structures funded by European money is not just a violation of international law. It is also a slap in the face to the international community providing aid to the occupied Palestinian population in a bid to ensure safe places of learning for children.”