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West Bank students start school year in solidarity with Gaza peers

Aug. 24, 2014 11:07 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 26, 2014 2:40 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Ministry of Education has decided to dedicate the first day of the academic school year to solidarity with the besieged Gaza Strip, where around 500,000 students are unable to attend classes due to the ongoing Israeli offensive, a local official said.

Issam Dabaseh, secretary-general of the teachers' union in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, told Ma'an that the ministry had decided to dedicate the first day of the 2014-15 academic year, which begins Sunday, to discussing the assault on Gaza with the estimated 700,000 Palestinian students in West Bank schools.

He added that classes would be suspended at 11:00 a.m. and students along with their teachers would head to the centers of their towns and villages across the West Bank to protest in solidarity with the Gaza Strip.

The Palestine Liberation Organization estimates that 277 schools have been damaged in the Israeli offensive, which has also killed 565 children.

Issam Dabaseh warned that even of the schools which were not severely damaged, many would be unfit for use as winter approached.

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated on Thursday that 373,000 children will need direct and specialized psychological counseling after the end of the assault, while all students would require some form of psychological assistance.

Of the more than 3,000 children who have been injured in the assault, meanwhile, UNOCHA said that around 1,000 would suffer from a life-long disability, in addition to the estimated 1,500 who had been orphaned.
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