RAMALLAH: Palestinians have expressed anger over an Israeli court decision to demolish a school serving a Palestinian Bedouin community east of Ramallah in the West Bank that was built with EU financial support early this year.
The school was built in mid-January, and served 17 students and children of the Bedouin community from the first to the sixth grade.
More students were expected to attend the school in the coming year. The only other school available to the Bedouin community is 11 km away.
The Wall and Settlement Resistance Commission, in cooperation with a Palestinian legal body, succeeded in obtaining a decision from the Israeli court in Jerusalem not to demolish the school for 10 days after the civil administration staff of the Israeli authorities stormed the area and announced its intention to carry out the demolition.
On Aug. 12, representatives, ambassadors and consuls of the EU visited the school to show solidarity with the students and protest against the court’s decision.
Sven Kuehn von Burgsdorff, the EU’s representative in Palestine, said: “This is not the first visit in which we meet to protest against the decisions of the occupation. Israel, as the occupying power, must respect the right to education under international law and relevant international conventions, and guarantee the right of Palestinian children to reach their schools easily.”
He described the decision to demolish the school as “illogical,” adding that it is a clear violation of all international obligations and amounts to forced displacement.
Palestinian politician Mustafa Al-Barghouthi told Arab News that Israel does not take the EU seriously.
Barghouthi said that that the circumstances surrounding the school demolition reveal the EU’s double standards over Ukraine and what is happening in Palestine, adding that Israel understands only the language of force, and does not respect human rights or the rights of the Palestinian people.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh affirmed his rejection of the Israeli court decision.
“The Israeli occupation’s decision to demolish the Ein Samiya school comes within the framework of the war on Palestinian identity, and within the framework of frantic attempts to the family education,” he said during the Cabinet session on Monday.
“The halt to the completion of the construction of the Ein Samiya school and the attempts to impose the Israeli curriculum on Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem are two sides of the same coin.”
The Palestinian Ministry of Education also condemned the Israeli court’s decision.
A ministry spokesman, Sadiq Al-Khaddour, said that the decision aims to displace Palestinians from their lands.
Israel’s targeting of Ein Samiya school is part of an attack on Palestinian national identity and education in all areas, he said.
The ministry said that it is looking at mechanisms to stop the demolition, in cooperation with friends, partners, organizations and international bodies.
Meanwhile, Israeli authorities canceled the licenses of six Palestinian private schools in Jerusalem for teaching the Palestinian curriculum instead of the Israeli version.
“We will defend our Palestinian curriculum and the right of our children to education in all regions,” Shtayyeh said.