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Israeli military demolishes school in Masafer Yatta for second time in two weeks

Jerusalem24 – Yara Alnazer – The Israeli military demolished on Tuesday two tents serving as temporary classrooms for 23 children in Masafer Yatta in the southern occupied West Bank.

The schoolchildren had been attending classes in the tents after the military demolished their newly-built school on 23 November under the pretext it was built in a “closed military firing zone”. Prior to the demolition, the military locked the students in the classroom and fired sound bombs inside, forcing the children to flee through the windows.

Tuesday’s demolition was captured on film by local activist Basil Al-Adra.

The donor-funded Isfey Elementary School, in Khirbet Isfey Al-Fawqa in Masafer Yatta, was built in October and its 23 pupils began studying there last month. They had previously been forced to walk several kilometers daily to attend another school.

The school is one of dozens of buildings under imminent threat of demolition as part of a wider campaign to drive out over 1,200 Palestinians from their homes in Masafer Yatta. 38 structures have been demolished in Masafer Yatta in 2022, 30 of which were donor-funded structures.

Advocacy campaigns have repeatedly urged the international community to pressure Israel into stopping the arbitrary forcible transfer of the residents.

European Union Representative Sven von Burgsdorff and other international representatives visited Masafer Yatta in September to express concern over intensified military operations and settler violence in the area.

Israeli NGO B’Tselem also issued an appeal in October to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court citing “Israeli war crimes” in the southern Hebron hills.

A total of 55 Palestinians schools across the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem currently have pending demolition orders under the pretext they were built without permits. Around 98% of building permit requests in Area C are rejected.

The schoolchildren of Isfey Elementaery School study outdoors on Wednesday, 7 December 2022. [Credit: B’Tselem/Facebook]

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