The UK has condemned the Israeli occupation for destroying a school in the Occupied West Bank, saying it violated the right to education of Palestinian children.
The British Consulate in Jerusalem said on X, a social media platform, that it was “deeply concerned” by the demolition of the Ein Samia School, which served a Bedouin community east of Ramallah.
“All children have a right to education. The UK calls on the government of Israel to uphold this right for Palestinian children,” the consulate said on Thursday.
According to the Palestinian Education Ministry, Israeli occupation authorities demolished the school under the pretext of lacking a license, just days before the start of the new academic year.
The ministry said the school was attended by 50 students from grades one to six, and that it was one of 58 schools in the West Bank that are under threat of demolition by Israel.
UNESCO Palestine also denounced the demolition, saying it was “a violation of international humanitarian law and human rights law”.
“In the last 12 months, 3 schools were demolished affecting 78 students. Some 58 schools remain under the threat of demolition,” it said on X.
Israel has been accused of systematically targeting Palestinian schools and educational facilities in the occupied Palestinian territories, as part of its policies to expand illegal settlements and displace Palestinian communities.
Palestinian Bedouin communities are indigenous people who have lived in the region for centuries, mostly as nomadic or semi-nomadic herders. They have a rich and diverse culture, language, and traditions that are distinct from other Palestinian groups.
However, Palestinian Bedouins have faced many challenges and hardships under Israeli occupation, such as land confiscation, home demolitions, forced displacement, lack of basic services, and discrimination. They are also vulnerable to violence and harassment from Israeli settlers and soldiers.
According to the UN, there are about 40,000 Palestinian Bedouins living in the West Bank, mostly in Area C, which is under full Israeli military and administrative control. About 7,000 of them live in 46 communities that are at risk of forcible transfer due to Israeli plans to expand settlements and infrastructure in the area.
Israeli settlement expansion is a policy of building and developing Jewish-only communities on lands occupied by Israel since 1967, mainly in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel also annexed the Golan Heights from Syria in 1981, and has built settlements there as well.
The international community considers Israeli settlements to be illegal under international law, as they violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits an occupying power from transferring its own population into the occupied territory. The UN Security Council has repeatedly condemned Israeli settlements and called for their cessation and removal.
Israeli settlements also pose a major obstacle to the peace process and the two-state solution, as they fragment and isolate the Palestinian territories, undermine their viability and contiguity, and create a situation of apartheid and inequality between Israelis and Palestinians.
According to the latest data from Peace Now, an Israeli NGO that monitors settlement activity, there are currently 144 official settlements in the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem), housing about 450,000 settlers. In East Jerusalem, there are 12 official settlements with about 220,000 settlers. In addition, there are over 100 illegal outposts in the West Bank that are not authorized by the Israeli government but receive support from it. In the Golan Heights, there are 34 settlements with about 25,000 settlers.
Since January 2023, Israel has approved or advanced plans for more than 10,000 new settlement units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, despite international criticism and pressure. Some of these units are located in strategic areas that would further cut off East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, or create new settlement blocs that would divide the West Bank into separate cantons.