EU protests Israel’s decision to demolish Ein Samiya Bedouin school 

Middle East Monitor  /  August 13, 2022

European Union (EU) representatives, ambassadors and consuls organized a visit on Friday to the Ein Samiya Bedouin school east of Ramallah to protest the decision by the Israeli court in Jerusalem to demolish it immediately.

EU Representative to Palestine Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff participated in the visit and announced in his speech: “This is not the first visit we meet in to protest against the decisions of the occupation, and Israel, as an occupying power, must respect the right to education under international law and relevant international conventions, and guarantee the right Palestinian children in Area C, Gaza, and the rest of the areas can easily reach their schools.”

Burgsdorff considers the demolition decision a clear violation of all international obligations, describing it as: “Illogical and not considered legal, and it amounts to a crime of forced displacement.”

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Education Sadiq al-Khaddour asserted that targeting the school targets national identity and Palestinian education in all regions, calling for serious action and the need for the world to support Palestinian children’s right to education.

Al-Khaddour stated that students do not have to travel long distances when schools are readily available, stressing that if the school is demolished, it will be rebuilt, and students will study in tents and outdoors if necessary.

He added: “We do not deal with these schools with the same standards compared to other schools. When we talk about a school with seven students and five female teachers, this confirms that we are concerned with providing the right to education. We do not study the feasibility from an economic and cost perspective, but rather in terms of moral feasibility, value, and commitment to students’ right to education.”

Director of the Jerusalem Centre for Legal Aid Issam al-Arouri said that the occupation court in Jerusalem cancelled the precautionary order to stop the demolition of the school last Wednesday. This was based on a change in instructions to the building regulations in force in the occupied Palestinian territories and in the context that Israel changed its story and started dealing with Palestinian land as Israeli land. Israel now considers any construction in Area C as an attack on the property of the occupying power. Since then, the school has been unprotected and in imminent danger of demolition.

Al-Arouri added: “We are planning a legal process that begins next week with a request to exempt the school from the licensing application.” He stressed: “The only thing that can save the school is to put urgent and imminent political pressure in the hope of giving us a few days for a new legal move that may save the school.”

Palestinian Muhammad Hussein Kaanba said that settlers and occupation soldiers constantly attack the school and the region as a whole and seized the school’s equipment some time ago: “All this comes in the context of the displacement of the population, but we will not leave the area.”

The school opened in mid-January in coordination with the Ministry of Education, the Committee to Resist the Wall and Settlement and with European funding. With the help of volunteers, the school has served students of the Ein Samiya community in Area C.