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Zionists raze Palestinian primary school

JABBET AL-DHIB: Zionist forces on Sunday demolished a Palestinian primary school in the occupied West Bank, citing safety issues and drawing sharp criticism from the European Union which had funded the project. Palestinians hurled rocks at Zionist forces who fired tear gas at them as bulldozers moved in on the site at Jabbet al-Dhib village near Bethlehem.

The EU said it was “appalled” after Zionist forces arrived at dawn at the school site, which a Palestinian Authority official said served 45 students and consisted of five classrooms. The Zionist entity has occupied the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War. The territory is home to around 2.9 million Palestinians. Around 475,000 Zionist settlers also live there in state-approved settlements considered illegal under international law.

A trailer and classrooms constructed of tin sheeting were cleared out of their contents before the demolition, an AFP correspondent said. COGAT, the Zionist defense ministry body overseeing civilian affairs in the occupied territories, imposed in March a two-month deadline to vacate the premises following an order by a Jerusalem court. The body had determined that the school had been “built illegally” and posed a “safety hazard”.

Ahmed Naser, a Palestinian education ministry official, told AFP the school had replaced another demolished by Israel in 2019. Naser noted its remote location, which he said prevents the “displacement and forced eviction” of local Palestinians, charging that the Zionist entity “wants to confiscate these lands”.

The EU called on the Zionist entity 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 the Zionist entity’s “systematic and deliberate” demolition of Palestinian structures. “Direct attacks on the Palestinian people’s homes, schools, livelihoods and water sources are nothing but (the Zionist entity’s) attempts to curtail the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and to threaten their very existence,” the experts said in a statement.

Mubarak Zawahrah, head of the Beit Tamar local council where the school was located, told AFP Zionist authorities had agreed a stay on the demolition pending a court appeal on Wednesday. “But the (Zionist) army ignored that and just demolished it,” he said. Naser, the education ministry official, said a tent would be erected Monday on the site with basic infrastructure to replace the demolished structures.

COGAT and Zionist group Regavim said the demolition was the result of a petition filed by the rightwing organization whose mission, according to its website, includes “the protection of (Zionist) national lands”. Regavim in statement accused Palestinians of using the school’s construction “against the law” to manufacture “a humanitarian crisis”. – AFP

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