Palestinian schools in Jerusalem learned licenses were revoked 'from press reports'

Palestinian schools in Jerusalem learned licenses were revoked 'from press reports'
Six Palestinian schools in occupied East Jerusalem recently had their licenses revoked by Israeli authorities. They found out about the move through Israeli media reports.
3 min read
West Bank
01 August, 2022
Palestinian schools in Jerusalem have been teaching the Palestinian curriculum for decades [Qassam Muaddi/TNA]

Palestinian schools in occupied East Jerusalem learned of an Israeli decision to cancel their operating licenses "through the news", the schools' attorneys told The New Arab on Monday, and are still waiting for clarification from authorities.

The five Al-Iman schools and the Ibrahimiyah school in occupied East Jerusalem were not notified by the Israeli education ministry that their licenses had been revoked, Nihad Rsheid, lawyer of the Ibrahimiyah school, told The New Arab, and instead found out through media reports.

"We wrote on Monday to the Israeli ministry of education demanding clarification," Rsheid said. "Until this moment, we haven't received any answer."

On Thursday, Israeli media reported that the education ministry had cancelled the permanent licences of six Palestinian schools in occupied East Jerusalem, after finding "incitement against the state of Israel" in textbooks.

"The Ibrahimiyah school, just as the rest of Palestinian schools in eastern Jerusalem, have been teaching the same textbooks for decades," pointed out Rsheid.

"This recent attempt to pressure our schools began in March, when inspectors of the Israeli education ministry visited the schools. Then in early July, the Israeli ministry summoned us to a hearing, to discuss the claims of incitement."

He said the Israeli ministry gave specific examples of what they considered as "incitement" which school authorities responded to, Sami Daqah, attorney for the five Al-Iman schools, told The New Arab.

"They pointed to a specific text about water that says one reason for water shortages in Palestinian cities and towns is the use of water resources by Israel for Israeli settlements and cities, which is a well-known fact," said Daqah.

"They also pointed to a text that speaks about Palestinian ambulances being shot at by Israeli forces, which is another well-known fact."

He said school officials attended a second hearing in mid July, where we asked for time to study the claims and prepare our case.

"Then last weekend, we were surprised to learn from the media that our schools' permanent licence was revoked and replaced by a temporary licence of one year, renewable only if the schools correct the fault, which simply means to abandon the Palestinian curriculum and adopt the Israeli one," he said.

The six schools provide education to 2,000 young Palestinians from kindergarten to high school age. They are part of dozens of Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem, occupied by Jerusalem since 1967, which teach according to the Palestinian curriculum.

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"This move is a dangerous precedent that opens the way for imposition of the Israeli curriculum on all Palestinian schools in the city," Nasser Al-Hedmi, president of the non-governmental Jerusalem Commission against Judaisation told The New Arab.
"These schools depend on Israeli government subventions, especially after being banned from receiving funding from Arab or Muslim countries.

"This means that the schools will first lose a significant part of their funding, and later would be forced to close."

After Israel's occupation of eastern Jerusalem in 1967, Palestinian schools in the city received subventions from the Jordanian government until 1988, when Amman ended its legal ties with the Palestinian territories.

Palestinian schools continued to teach Jordanian methods until the creation of the new Palestinian curriculum in the late 1990s.