From the news desk

Israel demolishes only school in Bedouin village

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On Sunday, Israeli forces tore down the only school for Bedouin children in Abu al-Nuwaar community in the occupied West Bank.

More than 30 Israeli bulldozers, accompanied with hundreds of Israeli forces and a delegation from Israel’s Civil Administration, raided the area in early morning, destroying and removing the only school belonging to the al-Jahalin Bedouin village, Ma’an news reported.

A “sit-in” by the primary students, who put on their school uniforms and held school books in protest against the demolition of their school, took place where the school once stood.

“This is the only educational facility that operates within our community and it was constructed and financed by the French government,” Abu Emad al Jahalin, the community leader and head of the council of the al-Jahalin Bedouin village, told Gulf news.

“The [school], which accommodates 60 of only grade I and II students, does not pose any kind of threat to the Israeli regime, which shockingly and without a prior notice, demolished the facility,” he added.

The al-Jahalin Bedouin village is located in the “E1” zone, an area of arid lands northeast of East Jerusalem and west of Ma’ale Adunum, an illegal Israeli settlement. “E1” falls within Area C, which lies under full Israeli civil and security control.

Lacks of building permits are often cited as reasons for Israeli demolitions of Palestinian constructions in this area. Nevertheless, official Israeli figures point to a 1.5 percent of approval for Palestinian permit applications in Area C, said Robert Piper, Coordinator for Humanitarian and UN Development Activities for the occupied Palestinian territory (OCHA).

The two Bedouin communities, Jabal Al-Baba and Abu al-Nuwaar, who rely on livestock herding and husbandry for a living, have been targets of expulsion and displacement by Israeli forces to make room for future expansion and construction of settlements, according to a report by Palestine News Network.

Israel’s confiscation of farmlands and demolitions of Bedouin homes have made them vulnerable to precarious conditions, who are frequently subjected to shortage of water and shelters.

In a recent Ynet report, Israel’s Civil Administration released demolition notices last Wednesday to ramshackle twelve Bedouin properties, including a makeshift mosque.

Since the beginning of 2016, the UN documented 283 homes and other structures dismantled and demolished in the West Bank within just six weeks between January 1 and February 15. The vast majority of these structures are located in Area C.

These demolitions have displaced more than 400 Palestinians who are left without homes. Half of those displaced are children. The number of Palestinians displaced so far in 2016 already approximates half of the total number of Palestinians displaced throughout 2015.

Last week, OCHA released a statement to call on Israel to halt demolitions in the occupied West Bank and to respect international law. “Palestinians in the West Bank have the right to adequate housing and the right to receive humanitarian assistance. As the occupying power, Israel is obliged to respect these rights”, Mr. Piper said.

[Source: Palestine Monitor]
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