The Impact of Israeli Aggressions on Palestinian Education Process

According to official statistics released by the Palestinian Media Center on July 17, 2001, the number of Palestinian school children who were martyred by Israeli occupation gunfire since the outbreak of the ongoing Aqsa Intifada last September to July 8th stood at 90 and 2151 were wounded, many of them seriously with permanent disabilities. A 9-month siege imposed by Israeli occupation troops delayed the arrival of teaching staff at a percent ranging from 10 % to 90 % in worst cases. Since the beginning of the Intifada, Israeli troops besieged scores of villages and cities with military barricades and check points sand bags not to mention the Israeli persistent digging of trenches around the besieged Palestinian towns and villages.

Furthermore, Israeli troops have changed tens of schools to military posts and fortifications in Hebron; for example Usama Bin Monqiz, Banat Jahar, Al-Maa’rif Zikor schools where Israeli military weaponry were staged inside these schools to shell civilian courts of the city. In addition to this, Israeli troops also broke into Banat Silat Al-Dhahr High School for two day during recent high school exams on June 21st. Under strict Israeli military orders, 6 schools were closed including Al-Khodhir schools in Bethlehem for 63 days: Khodhir Male School, Martyre Sayd Al-AA’s Male School, Khodhir Main Female School, and Khodir Female Secondary School. In Nablus, two schools were closed: Al-Sawia and Al-Laban Male Secondary School( b23 days), Hawara Male Secondary School ( 21 days ).

The teaching and learning process was also halted in 66 schools because of the Israeli imposed curfews; namely, the schools of Hawara, Yatma, Barqa, Baqa Al-Sharqia in Tulkarim, Salwad in Ramallah and Al-Bira, Dir qadis in Ramallah, Jabaa’; in Jenin, Salem in Nablus, Sinjol in Ramallah, Rafat in Ramallah, Silat Al-Dhahir in Jenin, Taqo in Bethlehem, Habla in Qalqilia, Dir Sharaf in Nablus. Besides, Israeli around the clock shelling from land air and sea has targeted so far 90 schools; 275 Palestinian schools are in the frontline of confrontation with Israeli occupation soldiers. As a precautionary measure to evade more causalities, Palestinians have so far evacuated 50 schools from their students especially after the Israeli warplanes targetting Tulkarim, Jenin, Ramalah, and Gaza last May. Four Israeli helicopters hovered at low altitudes over three Palestinian schools in Jenin the same month causing fear and panic among students.

What is more painful is the Israeli organized campaign of arbitrary arrests which led to the arrest of 21 teachers and 76 students. Israeli troops broke into 23 other schools; namely, Al-Aroob 11-4-2001 and on 1-5-2001, Al-Umah 11-4-2001, Zokor Hawara 18-4-2001, Silat Al-Dhahir, Tiaser 13-5-29001, Rafat 27-5-2001, Hazma 29-5-2001. Earlier, Yaser Abd Raboh, official in charge of Palestinian education and information declared “Israel has also forced the closure of Bir Zeit University, forcing more than 5,000 students out of the classroom and into the streets. And, it has created a blockade that has a direct health impact on our citizens. Destroying roads by digging out moats or creating walls of dirt and stone is an expansion of the Israeli policy of collective punishment which is recognized by every civilized society as inhumane and a flagrant violation of laws governing occupied territory.” Education officials in the Palestinian territories also underlined that

The curfew which continued for more than 84 days in the old town of Hebron resulted in the closure of 25 schools preventing more than 13 thousands students as well as 460 teachers from attendance.  In Nablus, the schools surrounding the tomb of Yousef were closed for military reasons by Israeli forces preventing students from attendance for more than 30 continuous days.  The siege of Palestinian territories also prevented teachers from traveling to their place of work and this has continued for more than 80 days since the start of the Israeli siege of Palestinian towns and villages.  Many teachers were shot and wounded by Israeli soldiers while trying to get to their jobs. Many schools were occupied by Israeli forces especially in the old town of Hebron in which 4 schools were occupied preventing more than 2400 students from attendance. Many schools were shot at by the Israeli army creating an atmosphere of sheer terror, causing structural damage to the buildings and psychological harm to the students. Israel has closed many schools claiming military reasons and preventing thousands of Palestinian students from attendance. Israel doesn’t only prevent students from attendance but also prevents the distribution of textbooks to Palestinian schools.  The second semester of the school year 2000/2001 in Palestine commenced on Saturday, January 15th, 2001, but no textbooks were available within schools. More than 850 thousand students will start their new school semester in West Bank and Gaza Strip without being provided with the textbooks required for that period. The closure and siege imposed by the Israeli army on West Bank and Gaza Strip prevent delivery of textbooks. The Israeli occupation soldiers, furthermore, prevented the reaching of teachers and students to their schools and behaved in an arbitrary and severe manner with drivers.  Therefore, peace loving people call on the international human rights organizations as well as all lovers of justice and coexistence all over the world to act for/on stopping this action, as the right of education is guaranteed by all international conventions, it’s the pillar stone of the UNICEF, isn’t it? The 1989 UN General Assembly Convention on the rights of the Child; Article 28 stipulates: 1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to education and with a view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity, they shall, in particular: (a) Make primary education compulsory and available free to all;  (b) Encourage the development of different forms of secondary education, including general and vocational education, make them available and accessible to every child and take appropriate measures such as the introduction of free education and offering financial assistance in case of need; (c) Make higher education accessible to all on the basis of capacity by every appropriate means; (d) Make educational and vocational information and guidance available and accessible to all children;  (e) Take measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and the reduction of drop-out rates.  2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that school discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the child's human dignity and in conformity with the present Convention.  3. States Parties shall promote and encourage international cooperation in matters relating to education, in particular with a view to contributing to the elimination of ignorance and illiteracy throughout the world and facilitating access to scientific and technical knowledge and modern teaching methods.



Mohammad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

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