Israel Demolishes Three School Buildings Within Two Weeks
Israeli authorities demolished school buildings for Palestinian children, citing the occupation and development of school facilities in the West Bank require permits which were not sought.
In a span of two weeks, the Israeli demolition team flattened school buildings that were supposed to house more than one hundred children, ages 5-10.
The latest of these demolitions was a brand-new school donated by the European Union (EU), which was constructed just three weeks ago at Jub El-Thib, east of Bethlehem.
Two other education facilities were also demolished, one from Jabal Al Baba which catered Bedouin children and a primary school in Abu Nuwar, whose solar panels, the only source of power at the school, were dismantled and confiscated by Israeli authorities.
The demolitions reportedly left up to 80 kids, aged between 5 to 10 without school.
Children Now Studying in Makeshifts
After the demolitions, tents were erected to accommodate the school children. The tents lack facilities such as chairs and tables. The scorching heat of the month of August makes it challenging.
One of the pupils shared her dismay on the demolition of their school at Jub El-Thib.
Jana Zawahra, an eight-year-old girl, said, “It doesn’t look nice anymore, it’s ugly.”
She and her classmates – 64 children from the first to the fourth grade – had only been back in class for three days when Israeli forces arrived to demolish the school.
Israel Says Construction of School Buildings are Illegal
Israel defended itself against the allegation of neglecting the needs of the community particularly giving access to education to Palestinian students. However, Israel argues the building of educational facilities is illegal. The demolished buildings were constructed in Area C without requesting prior permission from the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), a military unit which has direct control of the area.
Area C makes up about 61 percent of the entire West bank and building permits must pass through their hands for approval. However, rights group said the unit denied all requests for building permits particularly international donors, forcing them to build schools even without the unit’s approval.
COGAT is a unit in the Israeli military that engages in coordinating civilian issues between the Israeli government, the Israeli military, international organizations, diplomats and the Palestinian Authority.