Israeli forces have demolished yet another Palestinian school. Footage circulated widely on social media, corroborated by local sources, showed Israelis smashing down a school in Masafer Yatta, located some 14 km south of the city of Hebron. Students are believed to have been inside during the demolition.
Speaking in an interview on Salaamedia, Jerusalem-based archaeologist Abeer Zayyad said this was not a new occurrence. She explained that Israel was continuously destroying infrastructure in Masafer Yatta, including schools, in order to drive out its Palestinian residents.
“It’s not the first time they’re doing such a thing in Masafer Yatta. They want to evacuate all the people from there, so all the time they are demolishing homes, roads and schools. They think if they make life difficult, [Palestinians] will leave their land and they can build a new settlement,” she said.
The European Union (EU), which funded the recently-built school, said it was “appalled by news that ISF demolished the donor funded Sfai School in Masafer Yatta in Occupied Palestinian Territory, one day after a diplomatic visit by several EU member States.”
In a statement, it emphasised that the “Palestinian children’s right to education should be respected” and that it was “greatly alarmed by Israeli measures targeting humanitarian structures. Continued coercive measures threaten the existence of the Palestinian communities Masafer Yatta”.
Demolition of Palestinian school
The Israeli army raided the area on Wednesday morning and demolished the school, located in the village of Isfey al-Fauqa. The Palestinian school, which served 22 students from four nearby villages, had been in operation for less than two weeks.
The head of Masafer Yatta’s local council, Nidal Younis, told Al Jazeera: “The Israeli occupation forces demolished a school while it was in session and students were inside,” adding that the Israeli forces “used sound bombs to scare the children and get them out of the school.”
Zayyad said such tactics were used in order to scare villagers away from using public amenities.
“Even then, they do not care about what the world is saying or what other countries will say about what they are doing. This is part of their way to terrify children and their families from sending them to school,” she said.
More than 1,200 Palestinians, including 500 children, live under the threat of displacement by the Israeli army. The army has declared the area a military zone, as a pretext to demolish dozens of houses, buildings and agricultural facilities where Palestinians live. They have also reportedly prevented the most basic services such as electricity and water from being delivered to the region where opportunities are extremely limited.