EU diplomats visit West Bank school to be demolished

KAFR MALIK, WEST BANK (AP) — European representatives on Friday toured a small school building serving a poor Bedouin community in the occupied West Bank that is being demolished by Israel. threaten.

The EU is funding such construction to help Palestinians maintain 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli control, so-called Area C, where the military regularly demolishes homes and other structures built without permission.

EU representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff, who led the delegation, said that “it is totally unacceptable for the Israeli authorities to destroy this and dismantle that”.

“This violates their obligations under international law, especially international human rights law, to protect and promote the right to educational services of children for whom they have responsibilities in Palestine,” he said.

The school building was built in January and currently serves 17 students. COGAT, the military agency responsible for civil affairs in the West Bank, did not respond to a request for comment.

Area C was demarcated in an interim peace agreement signed in the 1990s that granted the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority limited autonomy over the rest of the West Bank – the scattered enclaves are known as Areas A and B.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of Israel approve eviction Of the approximately 1,000 Palestinians from Masafer Yatta, a group of Bedouin communities in Area C is in a live-fire training area established by the military in the 1980s. Residents say they have lived there for decades and engage in traditional farming, while Israel says there were no permanent structures when the range was set up.

In another development, Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said Friday that Nasser Nawaj’ah, one of its Palestinian field researchers in the southern West Bank, was detained by the military over the weekend, blindfolded and handcuffed. Detained for 12 hours. B’Tselem said an interrogator told him to stop “making trouble” and “having friction with the military.”

The military had no immediate comment.

Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war and built more than 130 settlements there, home to nearly 500,000 Jewish settlers. Authorities allowed several additional settlement outposts to be built without official authorization.

Palestinians want the West Bank to be a major part of their future state. They and most of the international community see all settlements as a violation of international law and an obstacle to the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Right-wing groups in Israel have sharply criticized the EU’s support for the construction of Zone C, accusing it of pushing Palestinians’ claims to land that Israel officially regards as disputed territory. The peace process collapsed more than a decade ago.

Khader Kaabna, a member of the Bedouin community whose school building will be demolished, said 28 families, including about 200 people, have lived in the area for 40 years.

Without the school, he said, children would have to travel 15 kilometers (9 miles) away to another school – which is also threatened with demolition – to receive an education, passing through a school set up by hardline settlers. near the outpost.

“If this school building is occupied, a large number of students will stop going to school because their parents are afraid of settler attacks,” he said. “The settlers are looking to uproot this community from the area.”

___ Krause reported from Ottawa, Ontario.

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