An Israeli court rejected a petition by lawyers to allow the school more time to obtain the appropriate permissions. Around 50 children were already enrolled there.

Israel has approved the demolition of a primary school near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, rejecting attempts by lawyers to delay the order so that proper permissions could be obtained.

Around 50 children who study at the school in the village of Ras al Tin will be left without an education unless alternative arrangements can be made. 

According to the New Arab, the only alternative for the children is a school in a nearby village which involves a journey of seven kilometres.

Lawyers will now take their case to the Israeli Supreme Court in an attempt to halt the demolition.

The school lies in what is known as Area C, an Israeli designation for areas of the occupied West Bank, which are under the full control of the Israeli military.

The New Arab reported that the school has faced previous harassment from both the Israeli army, as well as settlers who live illegally in the occupied territories.

In several incidents since the school’s construction, Israeli authorities have raided the building, taking with them roof panels, chairs, tables, and other materials.

Illegal Israeli settlers have also harassed children and villagers who work at the school.

For Palestinians, who have lived under military occupation since the catastrophic 1967 Arab defeat in the Six-Day War, permission for new construction in Area C is rarely issued.

Israeli settlers, however, get to enjoy building vast construction projects that rarely raise objection among the Israeli authorities despite their illegality under international law.

The restrictions mean that Palestinians cannot build the infrastructure they require, and rely on essential services that are located very far away.

Constructions without approval are therefore quite common, as are Israeli demolition orders.

According to a statement by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in 2018, there are 45 schools under threat of demolition

In early 2020, the Israeli government demolished a school in the town of Yatta, south of the city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank.

The demolition occurred without any prior notice and happened after lobbying by settler groups, who seek to demolish Palestinian villages and expel their residents from their land.

‘War crime’

The threats and the actual demolitions impact some of the most vulnerable subsections of the Palestinian community, such as Bedouins and villagers who make their living in remote agricultural communities.

Of course ,the restrictions apply to all structures and not just schools, so houses, businesses, and farming infrastructure. 

Amnesty International has described the destruction as a ‘war crime’. After a 2018 spate of demolitions, the group’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Magdalena Mughrabi, said:

“The Israeli authorities have shattered thousands of Palestinian lives, exposing men, women and children to years of trauma and anxiety through their deeply discriminatory policy of first denying building permits, and then bulldozing people’s homes, schools, and herding structures.”

More than 500 structures have been destroyed by the Israelis in this year alone, according to the UN.

But despite the repressive measures targeting Palestinians living under occupation, Israel faces little in the way of criticism internationally.

Under US President Donald Trump, the state has received carte blanche to entrench the occupation. Israel has been further buoyed by the abandonment of the Palestinian cause by Arab states, such as the UAE and Bahrain. The Gulf states have instead opted to build up commercial and trade ties with the Israelis.

Source: TRT World