Palestinians rebuild school hours after demolition by Israeli forces

AFP, Monday 8 May 2023

Palestinian residents and activists rebuilt a school in the occupied West Bank hours after Israeli forces demolished the premises, the Palestinian News Agency WAFA reported.

Palestinians rebuild the school in Bayt Ta mar village in Bethlehem, WestBank. Photo courtesy of Palestinian news agency WAFA. Americans puzzled on ‘Israel’s democracy’: Poll

Israeli occupation forces on Sunday demolished a Palestinian primary school in the village of Bayt Ta’mar in Bethlehem, 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.

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.

Hours after the demolition, Palestinian residents, activists, and crews from the Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission rebuilt the school, according to WAFA.

Ahmed Nasser, a Palestinian education ministry official, told AFP the school had replaced another school demolished by Israel in 2019.

Nasser referred to the school’s 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 United Nations experts had called for action to stop Israel’s “systematic and deliberate” demolition of Palestinian structures.

This article was originally published by Agence France-Presse.