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Friday, October 21, 2016
Multifaith school in Bethlehem faces demolition
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¬†A school in Bethlehem which welcomes Muslim, Christian and Jewish girls and boys has issued an appeal to the world for help after receiving news that part of their building is going to be demolished by the huge 'security wall' being constructed around the town. The 250+ pupil independent school based in the Al Khader district of "Royal David's City" Internationally renowned for its unique approach to peace and democracy education. Ibrahim Issa Co-director of Hope Flowers School says their children are taught to value their own dignity whilst affirming the value of others. Mr Issa said: "The building of the wall near the school has started. Despite almost eight years of legal protest the school cafeteria has received a demolition order from the Israeli army. The whole area is changing. Beautiful grey rocks thousands of years old are being crushed, and the hill at the front of the school is now a work site. Once built the separation wall may mean some of our students cannot reach us anymore." He said that in spite of the looming threat of demolition, the school was continuing its work: "Our peace program continues. Last month we organised two interfaith conferences with the Israeli Interfaith Encounter Association from Jerusalem. It is vitally important to keep peace education going". Mr Issa said because funds to the Palestinian government have been withheld by the US and international community, many neighbouring public schools have closed. He said: "So far we have been fortunate, but to keep our doors open a total of $11,500 (around £6,000) is required each month, to cover both teacher's salaries and running costs. For December, we only have $4,700 (around £2,350) available for both salaries and school running costs. Poverty here is increasing daily. With 30% of Palestinians not being paid by their Government plus 40% unemployment, it means that 70% of Palestinians are without any income". In a Christmas email message to supporters Mr Issa said: "The school needs your support, like never before. The school is a beacon of light within a harsh reality. Today the "Little town of Bethlehem" is imprisoned behind a giant concrete wall and a winding electronic fence. Huge Israeli checkpoints surround the area completely restricting the freedom of movement for Palestinians, preventing them from reaching the outside world, from gainful employment, from their agricultural lands, from pursuing higher education, from adequate medical treatment or worshipping where they choose". Pam Perry, Co - Director of Jerusalem Peacemakers UK, whose movement supports Hope Flowers School said: "The situation is heartbreaking, more than half the children are malnourished. The plight of the West Bank is totally unacceptable. Please support Hope Flowers by writing to or emailing your local MP. To make a donation, click on "How to Help" on the website at:
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