09/01/2017, 15.44
ISRAEL – PALESTINE

Israeli demolition of school in Jubbet al-Dhib forces children to study in tent

The structure was built without the "necessary permits". The nearest school is kilometres away. The coming winter is a source of concern. It was the third educational facility subject to measures by Israeli military authorities.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - The children of Jubbet al-Dhib, a village near Bethlehem, will continue to study even though their school has been demolished.

On 22 August, Israeli forces tore down the European Union-funded educational facility because it lacked the "necessary permits". The six prefabricated classrooms were located in Area C, under Israeli control, close to military areas.

Activists set up a tent on the ruined foundations to enable some 60 children to continue their lessons each morning.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Khulud Darras, who heads the International and Public Relations and Media Division at the Directorate of Education in Bethlehem of the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education, said that she travelled to the school with the Director of Education and Higher Education in Bethlehem, Sami Mroua.

She said that the situation is very painful after the school was destroyed by the Israeli military. However, the children “are happy even if it was a tent as they used to walk many kilometres to access the school which was the ‘nearest’ and suitable school from their homes.”

She talked to “one of the students' mom who expressed her concerns about the future of the school and whether the tent would be a suitable choice especially during the cold and rainy days in the coming winter.”

“In general,’ she noted, “education has always been a major value for Palestinians as they have a continuous passion for education because it stands as a valuable mean of resistance.”

“However, children who live in these areas are always subject to barriers posed by the occupation which hinders education in Palestine, particularly in remote communities that are located near settlements, military areas or the Separation Wall, as students are always subject to contiguous harassment on their way to their schools,” and “are frequently summoned, arrested and intimidated.”

Jubbet al-Dhib is the third Palestinian educational facility to be demolished or see its infrastructure confiscated by Israeli forces since the beginning of last month. This includes the only kindergarten for the Jabal al-Baba Bedouin community and the removal of the solar panels – the only source of power – for a school in Abu Nuwar.

The EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah expressed "strong concern" in a statement on Thursday. "Every child has the right to safe access to education and states have an obligation to protect, respect and fulfil this right, by ensuring that schools are inviolable safe spaces for children," the statement read.

In July, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) stated that Israeli restrictions in Area C have made it “virtually impossible” for Palestinians to obtain building permits.

The West Bank is divided into three administrative areas: Area A is under Palestinian control, Area B is under joint administration, and Area C, which covers 60 per cent the West Bank, is under full Israeli military control.

According to OCHA, as a result of such Israeli policies, more than a third of Palestinian communities in Area C lack primary schools, forcing children to travel long distances to obtain an education.

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