Israel earmarks fifty-three Palestinian schools for demolition
By Jay Jackson, Taiwan Sun
07 Feb 2021, 03:21 GMT+10
- A UN delegation has called on Israel to stop demolitions in the West Bank, which this week saw 60 people, including 35 children routed from their homes.
- The residents of a Bedouin community in the northern Jordan Valley are the latest victims of widespread displacement by the Israeli army.
- The Bedouin community was given verbal orders to leave their homes prior to the bulldozers being brought in.
RAMALLAH, West Bank, Palestinian territories – A United Nations delegation on Friday called on Israel to stop demolitions in the West Bank, which this week saw 60 people, including thirty-five children routed from their homes.
The residents of a Bedouin community in the northern Jordan Valley are the latest victims of widespread displacement by the Israeli army which generally clears areas for the construction of settlements for Israeli citizens.
The Bedouin community was given verbal orders to leave their homes prior to the bulldozers being brought in.
The UN delegation on Friday also expressed concern that 53 schools, attended by thousands of Palestinian school children currently have demolition orders on them.
The delegation of three high-level UN officials met Thursday with members of the Bedouin community, who were ousted from their homes earlier this week while their belongings were “seized or destroyed.”
After their meeting with the Palestinian Bedouins from Humsa al Bqai’a, Sarah Muscroft, head of the UN’s humanitarian agency in the occupied territory, James Heenan, head of the UN Human Rights Office (OCHA) there and Lucia Elmi, UNICEF Special Representative in Palestine, issued a statement calling for demolitions to be halted, and international law respected.
“Sixty people, including 35 children, were displaced from their homes and their belongings seized or destroyed by Israeli forces”, according to the UN representatives’ statement.
Among items seized were tents provided as humanitarian assistance following an earlier demolition in November of eighty-three other structures; the largest single demolition since 2009.
“The demolitions and confiscations were carried out after the families were verbally ordered to leave the area, although the community has made it clear they want to remain,” the statement said.
As the community had already rejected relocation proposals and even appealed to the courts for help, the UN officials observed that they are being pressured to move raising “a real risk” of forcible transfer, which is a breach of international law.
Children under threat
“The humanitarian community has also consistently expressed concerns over other impending demolitions, including of schools,” they said in the statement.
One school in Um Qussa, in the southern West Bank, is currently under imminent threat of demolition, which would impact fifty children, they added.
And Bedouin children, especially girls, are “amongst the most vulnerable to