Urgent Call for Action: Save Jub a-Deeb School at Imminent Risk of Demolition

  • Date: 2023-03-10

Urgent Call for Action: Save Jub a-Deeb School at Imminent Risk of Demolition

16 March 2023

The Israeli occupying authorities are ramping up its demolition campaign against Palestinian structures including Palestinian schools. As of September 2022, there are estimated to be from 22,000-30,000 demolition orders that have been given to Palestinian structures. There are 58 schools (50 in Area C, and 8 in East Jerusalem) serving around 6,550 students and 700 teachers (379 of whom are females), are currently at risk of demolition by Israeli occupying authorities. Increasing changes in Israeli discriminatory planning policies in the form of Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) planning ordinances, military orders, and legislative bills passed since 2018 point to an intensification of restrictions. This continues to cause increasing challenges for humanitarian and development actors in fulfilling humanitarian needs and reaching sustainable development goals in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) especially in the West Bank.

On 19 April 2017, the school received a Stop Work Order. Society of St. Yves directly submitted an application for a building permit and detailed plan, which was rejected by the court. Another building permit for the school was submitted in February 2021, following which an agreement was reached between the state and the petitioners for a new detailed plan for the school to be submitted in March 2021. On 12 January 2023, the Planning Sub-Committee of the ICA rejected the new outline plan, leaving Society of St. Yves 30 days to take legal action. On 10 February 2023, Society of St. Yves submitted a petition to the District Court against the demolition of the school along with a request for an interim injunction. The Court granted the interim injunction protecting the school and asked the ICA to respond. On 26 February 2023 the Court refused to extend the petition submitted by Society of St. Yves, leaving the school unprotected. On 2March 2023, Society of St. Yves also submitted a petition to the supreme court and paid court fees of 20,000 NIS, but no response was provided, and no interim injunction was offered to protect the school from demolition.

On 8 March 2023, the Jerusalem district court ruled that the Israeli Civil Administration can demolish the Jub a-Deeb school, east of Bethlehem. The court was petitioned by Regavim (a government sponsored non-governmental organization, that aids and abets in the commission of international crimes against Palestinian and Syrian communities in the occupied Palestinian territory and occupied Golan Heights. The demolition can take place within the coming 60 days.

Currently there are 40 children attending Jub-a-Deeb school. (15 boys and 25 girls) from Grades 1-4. The school was established to serve the children of the community who had to walk long distances across a main road to reach the nearest school. The school is built on private land donated by the local community. Destruction of Jub a-Deeb and or any school will be a flagrant breach of international law.

Palestinian children’s right to safe and quality education continues to be threatened when schools, students, or teachers are under attack. Under international Human Rights Law, every child has the right to education and states have an obligation to protect, respect and fulfill this right. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) recognizes education as a legal right to every child based on equal opportunity. Education is a fundamental human right that is crucial for the development of children’s skills and knowledge, and for their future prospects, as well as enabling the understanding and fulfilment of other rights. Protecting access to schools must be a priority for all duty bearers in the oPt, and all efforts must be made to address all impediments to safe access to schools.

Urgent diplomatic intervention is required, at a level commensurate with the gravity of the violation:

• Stop the demolition of the threatened school of Jub a-Deeb School and to guarantee Palestinians right to education.

• Increase advocacy efforts and issue public statements for an immediate end to school demolitions and protection of Palestinian children rights.

• Support children by all means possible, provide international presence at the schools at risk of demolition.

• Address the root causes of the issue and affirm the Palestinian rights to self-determination, right to education, right to health etc.