• Killing 97 students and injuring 2151 others
Israeli violations of Palestinian education in one year
- Publish date:27/02/2011
• 6 schools closed by military orders
• Disrupting education in another 66 schools
• Bombarding 59 schools and attacking 23 schools
• Conversion of 3 schools into military barracks.
The Palestinian Ministry of Education lost 97 students who were martyred since the outbreak of Al-Aqsa Intifada in September 29, 2000 until August 28 2001, -- the equivalent of about four classrooms and almost an entire school. About 2151 children were injured in their schools and hundreds suffered permanent disabilities and injuries. These children were wounded and killed by the Israeli army without any feelings of guilt on their part. Neither their innocence nor their toys interceded for them. Their blank books, which are as unsullied as their tender hearts, were stained with their blood which was shed in front of the entire world. These students were killed on their way to school or in their homes among their books and notebooks or in playgrounds and schoolyards.
The Palestinian Ministry of Education has faced extremely adverse conditions, such as detention of teachers and students, bombing schools, and attacking or taking over other schools. Israeli violations of the Palestinian education system have affect everything: the occupation authorities closed six schools by military orders, disrupted the educational process in 66 schools, bombed 93 schools and attacked 23 schools.
Here are the most important of these violations:
Dead and wounded students:
The Palestinian Ministry of Education lost 97 school-going students, who were killed by Israeli soldiers in cold blood and with indescribable cruelty. Most of them died on their way to school, or while returning home. Some of them were killed in their homes among their books, notebooks, and toys. There are many proofs of this: Muhammad Ad-Durrah was killed while he was returning to his home; Saamir Tabanjah was shot while he was playing in the vicinity of his home; Abu Diraaj was killed in his room on his bed.
With regard to injuries among students, shells, rockets and bullets of the Israeli occupation wounded about 2151 students. Some of them were seriously injured and suffered permanent disabilities; others lost an eye or limbs like a leg or a hand. Thus, the occupation bereaved them of their right to receive education and to live freely and safely.
Blockade of schools:
The Israeli occupation authorities have imposed a strict siege on the Palestinian territories since the outbreak of Al-Aqsa Intifada on September 29, 2000. They closed the main and secondary roads by concrete blocks and mounds of earth and stones, set up military checkpoints, and deployed tanks and heavy machinery in the vicinity of a number of schools and roads leading to them. Therefore, the blockade has led to the disruption of the educational process, depriving thousands of teachers and students of education and preventing them from going to their schools. By hindering the stability of the educational process and institutions, they have infringed the right to education guaranteed by international law. This obliged school staff and students to take mountainous and rough dusty roads, exposing their lives to danger because the Israeli soldiers fire at them for no reason. Shortages of teaching staff range from 10 percent to 90 percent of local teachers in most schools.
The Israeli occupation authorities closed six schools since the Intifada began as they issued strict military orders by virtue of which they banned entry to these schools or using them in any way. The schools were kept closed for one to two months. The schools which were shut, included: 4 schools in the town of Al-Khader in Governorate of Bethlehem, Howwarah Secondary School for boys, As-Sawiya-A-Lubban High School in Nablus for boys. Thus, about 3000 students were denied access to their main school during this period.
Disrupting schools by imposing curfews:
The occupation authorities have imposed curfews in many areas for continuous periods and at intervals. This led to complete disruption of educational facilities in 66 schools. Schools in the old city in Hebron were the worst affected due to the security control of the occupation authorities over the area. Twenty-eight schools were affected by the procedures of the curfew in the old town. The schools which were affected by this curfew include: 4 schools for boys and girls in the town of Howwarah, Nablus governorate; 4 schools in Silat ad-Dhahr, Jenin governorate; 3 schools in the town of Tuqu, Bethlehem governorate; and 5 schools in areas of Silwad and Sinjil, Ramallah and Al-Bireh governorate.
95 Palestinian schools have been bombarded by various types of Israeli heavy weapons (machine-gun fire, tank shells and aircraft rockets) in an outrageously brutal manner that has no parallel in history. The most brutal scene was witnessed when the occupation force tanks shelled a school for blind girls in the city of Al-Bireh, resulting in scenes of panic and horror scattering the blind students in chaos. The Israeli occupation's bombing of schools took place when students were in classrooms or sometimes when they were taking their exams. The schools that have been bombed include the Agricultural School of Beit Hanoun in Gaza, the Industrial School of Tulkarm and Beitunia Secondary School for girls. The bombing caused destruction in the buildings, destroyed the desks and school furniture, smashed the windows and ruined most of the facilities and utilities.
Transfer of schools to other places:
When the Ministry of Education realized the imminent danger to students, it began working on transferring schools that are exposed to this danger and their students to other remote areas to avoid indiscriminate bombing and to protect the students.The transfer was undertaken for 50 schools located along the demarcation lines in Gaza, Bethlehem, Hebron, Ya'bad, Deir el-Balah, Jericho, Khan Yunis, and Tulkarm. It is reported that there are 275 schools located on the demarcation lines manned by the occupation soldiers and are exposed to continuous violations and risks.
Breaking into schools and transforming others to military barracks:
The occupation authorities audaciously stormed 23 Palestinian schools since the Intifada began and opened fire on masses of students using live and metal bullets and poisonous gas bombs. In several cases, they detained the students and teachers for more than two hours, disrupting studies or disturbing the examinations.
Israeli violations which are against all international norms and conventions include incidents where occupation forces took control of three schools in the city of Hebron and turned them into military barracks, deploying tanks in the playgrounds. The Israeli forces took control of the schools' roofs and installed heavy machine-guns, lowered the Palestinian flag and raised the Israeli flag. These schools are: Usaamah ibn Munqith, Banaat Jawhar, and Thukoor Al-Ma‘aarif.