Home Occupation 01/November/2022 05:38 PM

Education Ministry decries Israel’s decision to raze West Bank school

RAMALLAH, Tuesday, November 01, 2022 (WAFA) – The Education Ministry today decried the Israeli occupation authorities’ decision upholding the demolition of a West Bank school.

The Ministry condemned in a press statement the Israeli occupation court’s ruling upholding the demolition of Ein Samia school, northeast of Ramallah, as an unfair decision, which constitutes a threat to the Palestinian children’s right to education in safe and stable environments, in flagrant violation of the relevant conventions, laws and international norms.

It added that there has been a notable upsurge of Israeli violations against the Palestinian education sector, particularly in Area C, which requires international human rights organizations and institutions defending children to confront Israeli violations, including the imminent demolition of the Ein Samia school, and initiate the relevant legal proceedings.

The Israeli occupation central court dismissed the petition submitted by the attorney of the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC) to postpone the demolition of the school to the end of 2022.

According to the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (BTSELEM), The Ein Samia community, which lies east of the village of Kafr Malik in Ramallah district, is home to 28 families, numbering a total of about 200 people. Since the community was established in 1977, its residents have been living under the threat of expulsion and suffering violence by settlers and Israeli forces. Since settlers established the outpost of Micha's Farm about three years ago, the violence has increased, affecting not only the community but also the residents of al-Mughayir, Kafr Malik, and other area communities.

There are about 40 school-age children in Ein Samia. Until 2013, children from the community had to walk several kilometers a day to school in Kafr Malik. That year, the Ministry of Education started funding a school bus. In 2020, the ministry approved the establishment of a new school within the area of the community, funded by the European Union, at the residents’ request.

 The construction work was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic and only began on 15 January 2022. Prefabricated structures made of galvanized sheet metal were placed on a 500-square-meter concrete surface, forming four classrooms and two bathrooms. The Badayat ‘Ein Samia Co-Ed Elementary School opened in last January. Once the construction began, the so-called Israeli Civil Administration (ICA), the name Israel gives to the body administering its military occupation of the West Bank, verbally notified the residents of its intention to immediately demolish the school.

The residents appealed to Israel’s High Court to prevent the demolition, but their request was denied. On 28 April 2022, the ICA delivered a stop work and demolition order for the school. The residents appealed the order to the district court, but their petition was rejected on 10 August 2022. On 14 August 2022, another petition was filed against the authorities’ refusal to freeze the demolition order until a decision was made on a building plan the residents had submitted earlier.  

“Demolishing educational facilities is one of the means Israel uses to try and drive Palestinian communities out of their homes, so it can concentrate the residents in enclaves and use the territory for its own needs. The school at ‘Ein Samia is one of 44 schools in the West Bank currently under threat of demolition, according to UN figures, eight of which are located in East Jerusalem. About 4,800 students attend these schools,” BETSELEM concluded.


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