The Minister of Education at the ceremonies starting the new schoolyear at Khan al-Ahmar. (WAFA Images / Suleiman Abu Srour)
JERUSALEM, July 16, 2018 (WAFA) – The new schoolyear started on Monday, earlier than usual, at Khan al-Ahmar village, east of Jerusalem, in ceremonies attended by Minister of Education Sabri Saidam and other officials.
The village school, the only one in the area that serves five nearby Bedouin communities with some 170 students, and the entire 190-strong community of Khan al-Ahmar are under Israeli threat of demolition and expulsion in order to build an illegal Jewish settlement in its place.
The schoolyear normally starts in Palestine on the first of September, but due to the special circumstances facing Khan al-Ahmar and the threats against it and its school, the Ministry of Education opted to give it an early start expecting several days or weeks of interruption if Israel proceeds with its demolition plan, already denounced and opposed by the entire world community and the United Nations.
Arrival at Khan al-Ahmar village, declared as such last week by the Palestinian government to protect it from the harsh Israeli measures, was not easy.
The Israeli army had set up roadblocks and a metal gate at the entrance to the village, located off the main Jerusalem-Jericho highway, to prevent Palestinian access to it.
Nevertheless, more than 70 students and their parents were able to get there, along with the Palestinian officials, to kick-start the new schoolyear.
Saidam stressed strong protest against demolishing or displacing Khan al-Ahmar, saying that this will be defied and fought very strongly.
The Israeli High Court had postponed any action against Khan al-Ahmar until the middle of August when it expects to hear from the Israeli government reasons for demolishing it.
The same court had earlier given the green light to the army to remove the village and its residents, but apparently changed its position after presentation of new evidence proving Palestinian ownership of the land the village is built on and following the strong international outcry.