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ISRAELI occupation forces demolished a Palestinian primary school south of the West Bank city of Hebron today as authorities declared the grounds a closed military area.
Soldiers moved in to dismantle the walls of the mobile classroom in the town of al-Sumo, taking an electricity generator and water tank from the site. A bulldozer then demolished the al-Tahadi 13 school with no prior notice and the grounds were sealed off.
The school, which was due to open in two days’ time, would have provided education to around 50 Palestinian children.
It consisted of seven mobile classrooms costing the Palestinian Ministry of Education around £36,000 to build.
It was one of 44 schools across the West Bank that are at risk of demolition, according to the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Aid.
It was in the so-called Area C, which includes about 61 per cent of the West Bank population and was assigned to Israeli control by the 1993 Oslo accords.
Area C is home to more than 300,000 Palestinians, a third of whom do not have access to primary schools due to the demolition programme and the occupying forces’ failure to replace them.
This means that 10,000 children are forced to learn in tents and other temporary structures that are routinely subjected to closure by Israeli authorities on the grounds that the schools have been built illegally.
However, Palestinians are rarely given permission to build in Area C, with illegal Israeli settlements given priority by the Israeli civil administration that controls all zoning and planning issues.
Earlier this year, an EU-funded school for Bedouins in the West Bank was torn down by Israeli authorities for the fifth time since 2016, despite demands to stop the demolitions.
Palestinians have consistently warned that the destruction of education centres is part of Israel’s continuing breaches of international law that aim to “break the Palestinian will for freedom and life.”
Despite being deemed to be in violation of the fourth Geneva convention, which states that “the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies,” Israel has continued to build settlements across the West Bank.
The Palestinian Ministry of Education condemned yesterday’s demolition, branding it “the real meaning of planned terrorism” by Israeli authorities against education facilities.
It called upon all international human rights and media institutions to hold Israel accountable for its crimes against education.
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