Israel demolishes Palestinian school, drawing EU rebuke

Israeli forces on Sunday demolished a Palestinian primary school in the occupied West Bank citing safety issues, drawing sharp criticism from the European Union which had funded the project.
Palestinians hurled rocks at Israeli forces who fired tear gas at them, as bulldozers moved in on the site at Jabbet al-Dhib village near Bethlehem, AFP reported.
The EU said it was “appalled” after Israeli forces arrived at dawn at the school site, which a Palestinian Authority official said served 45 students and consisted of five classrooms.
A caravan and classrooms constructed of tin sheeting were cleared out of their contents before the demolition, an AFP correspondent said.
COGAT, the Israeli Defence Ministry body overseeing civilian affairs in the occupied territories, imposed in March a two-month deadline to vacate the premises following an order by an Al-Quds court.
The body had determined that the school had been “built illegally” and posed a “safety hazard”.
Ahmed Naser, a Palestinian Education Ministry official, said the school had replaced another school demolished by Israel in 2019.
He noted its remote location, which he said prevents the “displacement and forced eviction” of local Palestinians, charging that Israel “wants to confiscate these lands”.
The EU called on Israel to “halt all demolitions and evictions, which will only increase the suffering of the Palestinian population and further escalate an already tense environment”.
“Demolitions are illegal under international law, and children’s right to education must be respected,” the office of the EU representative to the Palestinian Territories said in a statement.
In January, a group of UN experts had called for action to stop Israel’s “systematic and deliberate” demolition of Palestinian structures.

Date archive