Palestinians slam Israeli plan to demolish Bedouin school
Palestinian officials have denounced an Israeli order to shut down and demolish a primary school in a Bedouin village on the outskirts of the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.
The school built by an Italian aid organization in Khan al-Ahmar is the latest Palestinian structure subject to a demolition order by Israel.
Jamal Dajani, a director at the Palestinian premier’s office, said Israel was using “every excuse in the book to prevent the advancement of Palestinian communities,” by depriving “our children of educational opportunities.”
“Is Palestinian education a threat to Israel?” Dajani asked.
Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah’s office said everyone is entitled to education which is a fundamental human right.
“We stand with the community of Khan al-Ahmar and we commend all those who are supporting it,” the office said in a statement on Wednesday.
Italian aid organization Vento Di Terra, together with volunteers from the Jahalin Bedouin community in al-Khan al-Ahmar, built the school in 2009 as an alternative for Palestinian students, who had to attend classes in distant schools.
The school, which accommodates 170 students from five Bedouin communities in the region, was built using mud and tires because Israel prohibits Palestinians from using stone and concrete in construction.
Israeli authorities in Area C of the occupied West Bank issued a demolition order against the structure only a month after it was built, arguing that it had been constructed near a road where land expropriation plans had already been approved.
Area C is the largest division in the West Bank, comprising 60 percent of the Israeli-occupied territory. The Palestinian Authority can only provide education and medical services to the 150,000 Palestinians living there.
Palestinian Minister of Education Sabri Saidam has announced the start of the academic year two weeks earlier than originally planned in defiance of Israeli plans to close down the school.
The Palestinian Authority has urged the international community to put pressure on Israel to stop the demolition of the school.
On Tuesday, several Palestinian officials and international rights bodies took part in a ceremony to protest Israel’s demolition plan.
“This is not the Bedouin community losing a school; this is [about] the whole Palestinian people losing the basic right to education,” the Palestinian education minister told PressTV.
Illegal settlers have submitted three petitions to the Israeli supreme court, demanding the demolition of encampments in Khan al-Ahmar that house some 100 families.
The court decided in 2013 to relocate the Jahalin Bedouins to an area near the city of Ariha (Jericho), which is under the Palestinian Authority’s control.