Israeli Soldiers Demolish A School Near Bethlehem

12:00 May 7 2023 Jubbet ad-Dib (جبة الذيب) and Beit Ta'mir (خربة بيت تعمر)

Scenes. Published by IMEMC News

Palestinian students on the ruins of their school demolished by Israel on Sunday. Credit: Musa Issa Qawasma / Reuters Published by Haaretz

School. Source: The Good Shepherd Collective via Twitter

by IMEMC News
May 8, 2023

On Sunday, Israeli soldiers demolished a school in Beit Ta’mir village, southeast of Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank.

Media sources said several army vehicles, including bulldozers, invaded the village after surrounding and isolating Tahadi 5 School in the Jeb Ath-Theeb area at dawn.

They added that the soldiers demolished the school and confiscated all its belongings, including desks and chairs, before withdrawing.

The invasion led to protests before the soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs at the Palestinians.

The school provided education to 60 students from the local communities of Jeb Ath-Theeb, Zawahra, Al-Wahsh, and Mheimeed and was built on land private-owned by Palestinians from the Zawahra family, who have all deeds and legal documents.

Immediately after the army destroyed the school, the Palestinians started rebuilding it to ensure the children receive the education they need, the WAFA Palestinian News Agency said.

The army first destroyed the school in 2017, and since then, the Palestinians have been rebuilding it whenever the army demolishes it.

The European Union denounced the school’s demolition, which was donor-funded, and urged the Israeli authorities to “stop all demolitions and evictions, which it said, “will only increase the suffering of the Palestinian population and further escalate an already tense environment.”

Commenting on the demolition, the Palestinian Directorate of Education issued a statement denouncing the demolition and said the destruction is “part of the constant Israeli violations against the educational sector in the West Bank, and the constant targeting of students, teachers, and staffers, in direct violation of all international treaties.”

It called on the International Community to oblige Israel to end its violations, abide by international humanitarian and political treaties, and expose the seriously escalating Israeli crimes.

In late February of 2023, an Israeli court denied an appeal filed by the Wall & Colonization Resistance Commission and The Society of St. Yves – Catholic Center for Human Rights against demolishing the Tahadi School.

The school was demolished eleven times since its establishment in 2016.

Israel Demolishes Palestinian Elementary School in West Bank Village Near Bethlehem

EU, German Foreign Ministry condemn Israel's demolition of the West Bank school which served dozens of Palestinian students

by Hagar Shezaf for Haaretz
May 8, 2023 6:00 pm IDT

Israel's Civil Administration in the West Bank demolished a Palestinian elementary school on Sunday serving dozens of students near Bethlehem, following the district court's ruling on a petition submitted by the right-wing NGO Regavim, co-founded by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.

The school, located in the Bedouin village of Jubbet ab-Dib, was built six years ago and served students from both Jubbet ad-Dib and Beit Ta'mir. Before it was built, children in the area had to walk about three kilometers (almost two miles) per day to reach the nearest school. After the demolition, locals set up a tent in the same spot, where they plan to hold classes.

The EU, who assisted in funding the school's construction, condemned the demolition, calling it a violation of children's right to education and saying it has "been following closely this case and has asked the Israeli authorities not to carry out the demolition."

The statement further stressed that such demolitions are "illegal under international law, and children’s right to education must be respected. The EU calls on Israel to halt all demolitions and evictions, which will only increase the suffering of the Palestinian population and risk inflaming tensions on the ground."

The German Foreign Ministry spokesperson also condemned the demolition, saying the destruction of the school "undermines" the peace process and "will be discussed with Israeli authorities."

Because the school was constructed without a formal permit from Israel, the court ordered stop-work orders during its construction. An attempt to retroactively receive a permit for the school was later rejected. Attorney Haytham Khatib of the Society of St. Yves, a Catholic human rights group, petitioned against the rejection, yet Regavim insisted on the school's demolition.

The court eventually ruled in Regavim's favor, basing its decision on an official opinion issued in 2018 claiming the school had safety issues and could collapse in the event of an earthquake.

"They tell us that the school is unsafe for children, but they don’t allow us to do anything about it. [We can't] fix or build in it," says Beit Ta'mir resident Halin Musa Sabah, one of the proprietors of the site where the school was built and an uncle to one of its students. According to Sabah, the school "was built so our kids could get an education, which is the right of every child."

Activist Hassan Brijia, a member of the committee against Israel's separation barrier and settlements in the Bethlehem area, says Israel does not issue Bedouins building permits and that the school was "vital for life in this area.

"The oldest students are ten years old. Do they really pose such a danger to Israel?" he asks.

"[Finance Minister Bezalel] Smotrich's organization filed the petition against the school and now Smotrich is the one executing its demolition," says Brijia – a claim Sabah agrees with.

"Smotrich said Huwara needs to be wiped out, and now he has wiped out our school," Sabah adds. "Can you look at the children crying? Can you look at a six-year-old child who's sobbing? How can you explain this to him? What kind of person can you expect to raise in such a reality?"

After news of the demolition was made public on Sunday, Regavim published the following statement: "This building is but one out of hundreds of illegal schools built across Judea and Samaria as part of the Palestinians' method of taking control of the land."

The organization also published a report on the issue as part of its ongoing war on what it says are illegal Palestinian schools in the region.

Shlomo Ne'eman, head of both the Yesha Council, an umbrella organization representing Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and the Gush Etzion Regional Council, welcomed the demolition - calling it "another step in our continuous struggle for the territories of our nation. We have much more work to do."

School in neighboring Jubbet Ad-Dib that also served students in this village demolished by Israeli forces 5/7/2023
A school on private Palestinian land demolished by Israeli forces 5/7/2023
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