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Palestinians issue appeal to save schools from Israeli destruction

PALESTINIAN head teacher Ja’far Fuqaha issued an urgent appeal for global solidarity to save five schools from destruction by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank today.

He told the Morning Star that Tel Aviv has earmarked his school and four others in the Jordan Valley for demolition as part of its ethnic cleansing operations and illegal settlement programme in the occupied territories.

Some 15 military vehicles from the Civil Administration arrived at the Al Maleh school last month and confiscated equipment while destroying a classroom and a clinic, Mr Fuqaha explained.

“What happened in Al-Maleh, and what may happen in other parts of the Jordan Valley, is part of a larger Israeli scheme to ethnically cleanse us from our land.

“Actually, the demolition of our property coincides with the construction of more illegal settlements,” he said.

Mr Fuqaha has been targeted by the Israeli authorities who detained and interrogated him a few weeks ago.

But he continues to fight for the right of Palestinian children to receive an education.

“Targeting education in particular is key for Israelis to de facto annex the Jordan Valley and expand illegal settlements because the existence of schools here is the pillar of our steadfastness,” he said.

The mayor of Al Maleh described the confiscation of school property as “a shock to us all in the community,” saying that the children were upset.

Construction of the new facilities had been supported by the Stop the Wall organisation and the Middle East Children’s Alliance.

Stop the Wall spokesperson Manal Shaqir told the Morning Star that the denial of education to Palestinian children in the occupied Jordan Valley and other areas of the West Bank is “used as a coercive measure to ethnically cleanse them from their homes in favour of illegal Israeli settlements.”

The organisation says that such actions are “a central component of the crime of apartheid” and amount to a breach of international law, including the Geneva Conventions.

It has launched a campaign to Save Our Schools, backed by the Palestine New Federation of Trade Unions, and sees it as part of the struggle against the exploitation of Palestinian children, who they say end up being used as cheap labour by Israeli companies.

Stop the Wall called for international solidarity, urging people to write to MPs and join the global academic and cultural boycott of Israel.

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