Israel has been urged to halt plans to destroy a European-funded Palestinian school in the occupied West Bank to make way for the expansion of its illegal settlement programme.
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) raised concerns over the planned demolition of the Ras At-Tin primary school, which serves 50 children in the village, east of Ramallah.
If the destruction goes ahead pupils will face a five-kilometre walk to the closest school, in the village of al-Mughayyer.
“These are some of the most vulnerable children whose life is already extremely hard. Israel as the occupying power has a duty to ensure that they get their education and basic services,” NRC spokesman Carsten Hansen said.
“Instead, it uses its power to do the opposite: denying them their fundamental right to education and paving the way for illegal settlement expansion.”
The school was funded by a number of EU member states and Britain. But Israeli armed forces have confiscated material including the school’s roof, desks and chairs four times between August 31 and September 10.
They insist that it does not have the required permit for building in what it calls “Area C,” where as many as 98 per cent of Palestinian requests are denied by occupation authorities.
Israel has partially or fully demolished three schools in the West Bank so far this year, and 52 others are under threat of demolition, according to the Education Cluster monitoring group.