Dozens of Palestinian schools at risk of Israeli demolition

Dozens of Palestinian schools at risk of Israeli demolition
Children as young as seven will be left without schools as a result of Israel's refusal to grant building permits to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
2 min read
05 February, 2018
Israel's policies in the occupied West Bank is putting Palestinians at risk [AFP]
Dozens of Palestinian schools are at risk of being demolished by Israel, the UN has warned, leaving children in the occupied territories even more vulnerable.

At least 45 schools are now facing demolition by the occupying Israeli military, the UN office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned on Sunday.

Children as young as seven would be left without schools if Israel carries out its demolition project, said Roberto Valent, acting OCHA coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territories.

Read more: Israel prepares to carry out hundreds of house demolitions [November 2017]


"I am deeply concerned by the Israeli authorities' demolition this morning of two donor-funded classrooms - third and fourth grade - serving 26 Palestinian schoolchildren in the Bedouin and refugee community of Abu Nuwar, located in Area C on the outskirts of Jerusalem," he said in a statement.

"The demolition was carried out on grounds of lack of Israeli-issued permits, which are nearly impossible to obtain."

Applications for building permits are known to take years to be processed, giving Israeli courts a loophole to accelerate Palestinian home demolitions by branding structures as "illegal".

The demolition of schools and homes in the occupied West Bank is a near-daily occurence, with Palestinian families often forced to pay fees of up to $41,000 for the destruction of their homes. Construction of Israeli-only settlements, deemed illegal under international law, continues apace, with the full backing of Tel Aviv.

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Abu Nuwar is a particularly vulnerable community.

"The conditions it faces also represent those of many Palestinian communities, where a combination of Israeli policies and practices - including demolitions and restricted access to basic services, such as education, have created a coercive environment that violates the human rights of residents and generates a risk of forcible transfer," said Valent.

"This is the sixth demolition or confiscation incident in Abu Nuwar school by the Israeli authorities since February 2016."

Read more: Palestinian shopkeeper destroys own shop to avoid Israeli demolition fees

The Oslo agreement of 1995 divided the occupied West Bank into three: area A, area B and area C.

Area A is under the administrative and security control of the Palestinian Authority. Area B's administration is controlled by the PA, with Israel controlling security. Area C is under full administrative and security control of Israel.

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