At dawn on Sunday, the Israeli authorities demolished the “Challenge Five” mixed basic school in the remote village of “Jib al-Dib” east of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, according to an AFP photographer, while the European Union, which financed the construction of the school, expressed its “shock.”
The European Union condemned the move as illegal, at a time when a right-wing Israeli organization that submitted the petition against the school claimed that the Palestinians had “appropriated” the land.
The second time the school has been demolished
The school is located in Area C of the occupied West Bank, where it is nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits.
An AFP photographer confirmed that “Israeli bulldozers” demolished the school, which was built of caravans and tin, at dawn on Sunday, after it was emptied of its contents, following the end of the two-month deadline given to vacate the site.
The head of the field follow-up unit at the Palestinian Ministry of Education, Ahmed Nasser, said that this is the “second time” that the school has been demolished, as it was demolished in 2019 and rebuilt.
He explained that the school had 45 male and female students at the primary stage, and they were receiving education in five classroom units.
For its part, the Office for the Coordination of Israeli Government Activities in the occupied West Bank (COGAT) said that the school “was built illegally without permission and poses a threat to the safety of those inside.”
He added that an expert warned of the danger of its collapse at any moment.
For its part, the “Regavim” organization, which is not the right-wing Israeli government, which petitioned the court against the school’s existence, claimed that the existence of “a building on open land is illegal.”
The European Union in the Palestinian territories called on Israel to “respect children’s right to education,” adding, “Israel must stop all demolitions and evictions.”
The union wrote in a tweet on Twitter that the demolitions “only lead to an increase in the suffering of the Palestinian population and further escalation of the already tense atmosphere.”
According to Nasser, the Palestinian Ministry of Education has built 31 Tahadi schools in remote areas throughout the West Bank, with a concentration in the south, and today 1,673 students attend them.
The head of the field follow-up unit confirmed that these schools were built with the aim of “resisting displacement and forced eviction” practiced by “the occupation, which wants to seize the land” in the region.
It also helped, according to Nasser, “to ease the suffering of the students, and they no longer had to travel long distances to reach the nearest school in the nearest village or city.”
He also pointed out that these schools have raised the level of enrollment in education in remote areas of the occupied Palestinian territories in general, especially among females, whose education was “almost non-existent”.
On the step that follows the demolition, Nasser said that the ministry will erect, on Monday, “a tent that we will provide with the necessary services and use as a school to provide the minimum that will help us complete education in this area.”
Israel has occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since 1967.