Bethlehem: Israel destroys new school - night before grand opening

  • Dan Bergin

Jubbet al-Dhib

Jubbet al-Dhib

Israeli military jeeps came barreling down towards Jubbet al-Dhib’s first and only primary school late Tuesday night, terrifying locals who had been finishing preparations for the school’s grand opening set for the next morning - Sheren Khalel writes in Mondoweiss

Soldiers shot tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets as they cleared the way for bulldozers and flatbed trucks brought in to take the school.

ocated between four Palestinian villages on the outskirts of Bethlehem, the school was built with caravans on a concrete foundation by local authorities and international NGOs partnered with the European Union, hoping to mitigate the myriad of challenges facing students in the area.

Israeli soldiers quickly cleared the area with crowd control weapons, and within an hour of the soldier’s arrival the caravans had been loaded up and taken away along with the tables, desks, construction equipment and everything else other than the concrete foundation, bathrooms and tiny chairs brought for the seven-to-nine-year-olds that were expected to attend their first day of school the next morning.

The only other school in the area, Hateen Primary and Secondary School for Boys and Girls, located in the middle of Ta’amra village on the outskirts of Bethlehem city, is actually a shoddily refurbished home rented by the Palestinian Authority to serve the children of four local villages. The landlord lives in a home on the upper floor.

If it was not for the faded cartoon paintings etched along the wall of Hateen School, one might think they were passing a car garage instead of the main educational institution in the area. The front of the school opens to three large garage-like doors. Each door takes up an entire wall of each room, leaving the children’s cramped classrooms exposed to the main street some meters away.

The Israeli authorities said the new school did not have the correct planning permission for the buildings. The school authorities said they had received planning permission.

In July Israeli authorities confiscate dozens of solar panels donated to Jubbet al-Dhib. Again it was explained that no planning permission had been granted.

Critics point out that planning permission for any kind of Palestinian infrastructure project is virtually impossible to get.

Jubbet al-Dhib is very close to the border with Israel. Many settlements - illegal under both Israeli and international law – are spreading near the village. While these illegal settlements are supplied with water and power by Israel, the local Palestinian community is being deprived of the most basic facilities.

More than 300 structures in the occupied West Bank demolished by the Israeli authorities in 2016 were at least in part funded by the EU or international NGOs, an Israeli military official said earlier this year.

Last year also saw the highest number of Israeli demolitions of Palestinian structures since rights groups began records.

To read more, see:

See also Norwegian Refugee Council report:

Tags: Israel, Palestine, Holy Land, Jubbet al-Dhib, illegal settlements,

We Need Your Support

ICN aims to provide speedy and accurate news coverage of all subjects of interest to Catholics and the wider Christian community. As our audience increases - so do our costs. We need your help to continue this work.

Please support our journalism by donating today.