Masafer Yatta (The Inside Palestine)- Israeli forces blocked Palestinian teachers from arriving to to schools in Masafer Yatta in the southern Hebron hills, on the first day of class of the year on Monday.
The two schools are located in the villages of Jinba and Fakheet, part of the larger village conglomeration of Masafer Yatta, serving some 100 students from 13 villages.
“On Sunday, teachers tried to reach both schools to prepare for the first day of class on Monday,” Nidal Younis, mayor of Masafer Yatta, told The New Arab. “Israeli forces stopped the teachers, forced them to go back and confiscated their vehicle.”
“On Monday morning the teachers came back with an official delegation from the education ministry to celebrate the beginning of the school year but Israeli forces stopped them again,” Younis said.
“The delegation and the teachers were stopped for more than an hour and a half before allowing them through,” said the mayor. “The school day finally started, but several hours late.”
The two schools have demolition orders against them, as they are built in “Area C” where Israeli authorities rarely give Palestinians building permits.
Last week an Israeli court ruled against an appeal filed by the Masafer Yatta community to save the two schools and 32 other structures, including a health clinic.
The move renews concerns about Israel’s decision to expel around 1,200 Palestinians from Masafer Yatta, which Israel declared a military firing zone in the 1980s. The decision was confirmed last May by the Israeli supreme court after two decades of legal battles.
While Israel claims that Palestinians did not live permanently in Masafer Yatta before it was declared a firing zone, Palestinians and human rights groups affirm that the community lived in the area well before Israel’s occupation of the West Bank in 1967.
In June the UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a periodic report that if carried out, the expulsion of Palestinians from Masafer Yatta would constitute a “war crime”.
The same position was announced in early June by 15 US lawmakers, after 83 US lawmakers signed a letter to the US secretary of State Antony Blinken, asking to stop the expulsion of Palestinians from Masafer Yatta.
Source: The New Arab