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Hamdallah, B'Tselem slam Israel over Jubbet al-Dhib school confiscation

Aug. 25, 2017 2:50 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 20, 2017 10:50 A.M.)
Palestinian boys are seen in the reflection of a mirror inside a makeshift bedroom at a UN-run school in Gaza City on February 25, 2015 (AFP/Mahmoud Hams, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Days after Israeli forces confiscated a Palestinian primary school on the eve of the first day of school in the occupied Palestinian territory, Palestinian leadership and human rights groups continued to issue condemnations against the Israeli actions.

Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem released a statement Thursday saying that the destruction of the Jubbet al-Dhib school in the Bethlehem district of the southern West Bank “epitomizes the administrative cruelty and systematic harassment by (Israeli) authorities designed to drive Palestinians from their land.”

Meanwhile, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah also released a statement condemning the Israeli confiscation of the school, saying “denying the community’s children their right to education, not to mention other fundamental rights, is a deliberate policy of the Israeli authorities to pressure Palestinian communities to leave, in order to confiscate their land and build additional settlements.”

“We call upon the international community to honor its responsibilities under international law, including international humanitarian law,” Hamdallah said.

“The UN has an obligation to compel Israel to comply with international law and to immediately cease all actions that violate the rights of Palestinians, including the right to education, and any other actions that contribute to the coercive environment that these communities are currently facing” Hamdallah concluded.

The prime minister’s statement highlighted that on multiple occasions in 2017, Israeli authorities have demolished or confiscated donor-funded humanitarian aid structures provided to several vulnerable Palestinian communities.

The statement cited UN records that said Israel demolished or seized about 300 Palestinian-owned structures throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, displacing 500 Palestinians and affecting the livelihoods of another 5,300 so far in 2017.

Following the confiscation of the school in Jubbet al-Dhib on Tuesday, the Norwegian Refugee Council released a statement condemning Israel for the confiscation as part of "a wider attack on education in Palestine."

According to NRC, some 55 schools in the occupied West Bank are threatened with demolition and stop-work orders by Israeli authorities, many of them built with funding from the European Union states and other donors.

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