Middle East Eye / August 17, 2023
The demolition comes days after the Ras al-Teen school near Ramallah was attacked by Jewish settlers.
The bulldozing operation started early on Thursday morning, just days after Israeli settlers launched attacks on the school, leaving desks in classrooms upturned and damaging resources.
Locals say the destruction of the town’s only school will limit the students’ prospects and their access to education as a new academic year starts next month.
Videos shared online show large bulldozers taking the school apart and mowing down large parts of the building.
According to local media, the Palestinian Ministry of Education described the destruction of the Ras al-Teen school as “hostile”, and condemned it for “depriving students from obtaining their right to education”.
The ministry also said the move was a flagrant violation of international laws and human rights conventions, including resolutions that protect children’s right to education.
Calling on the international community and humanitarian organizations to take action, the Ministry of Education said it is willing to work with international partners to support the students affected.
The head of the town council, Najeh Rustom, told local media agencies that a number of residents were recently forced to leave the area due to a rise in settler attacks on them and their homes.
Around 50 students attended Ras al-Teen school, which had five classrooms.
The residents of the town, around 500 people, had previously been displaced from other areas by Israeli forces and settlers.
Earlier this year, Israel demolished another Palestinian school in Jabbet al-Dhib village, near Bethlehem, drawing heavy criticism from the EU, which said it was “appalled” by the destruction of an establishment it had funded.
In January, a group of United Nations experts called for action to stop Israel’s “systematic and deliberate” demolition of Palestinian structures.
“Direct attacks on the Palestinian people’s homes, schools, livelihoods and water sources are nothing but Israel’s attempts to curtail the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and to threaten their very existence,” the experts said in a statement.
The occupied West Bank is home to 2.9 million Palestinians, and around 475,000 Jewish settlers who live in state-approved settlements considered illegal under international law.