On Wednesday morning, Israeli forces demolished a primary school in Isfey Al-Fouqa attended by 22 students from neighbouring communities in the occupied West Bank. Classes were in session when Israeli soldiers arrived at the site with bulldozers. Soldiers threw sound bombs at the school to force the children to leave before demolishing the building.
“When the dust settles on a school that is now turned into rubble, 22 Palestinian children will wonder what they have done to deserve to have their school knocked down by Israeli bulldozers,” said Caroline Ort, NRC’s Country Director for Palestine. “The school in Isfey Al-Fouqa in Masafer Yatta was the only place providing education in the area.”
“Education must not be used as a weapon to destroy the future of young Palestinians. NRC, alongside its partners, will continue to provide support to those affected and urge Israel to abide by its obligations under international humanitarian law,” Ort added.
The school was built earlier this year to provide children in the area with quality and safe education. Prior to its establishment, children from the area travelled on unsafe roads near settlements to attend school.
There are currently 57 schools under threat of demolition in the occupied West Bank. Around 6,500 students who go to these schools are at risk of losing access to education, according to the Education Cluster.
- Israel, as the occupying power, is obligated to provide for the wellbeing of Palestinians living under occupation. This includes ensuring that the local population can exercise their rights to education, life, adequate housing, family life, private property, health, and all other human rights.
- In May of this year, Israel’s High Court of Justice dismissed all the petitions against the forcible transfer of up to 1,200 Palestinians in a large part of Masafer Yatta, including Isfey Al-Fouqa, that Israel has declared a closed military zone.
- The West Bank Protection Consortium, led by NRC, have been supporting these communities through the provision of material and legal assistance. The consortium was formed to prevent the forcible transfer of Palestinians in the West Bank. It is a strategic partnership of five international NGOs, 10 EU donors, the United Kingdom, and EU Humanitarian Aid.
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