Human Rights Watch: Israeli Army Demolishing West Bank Schools

 Israel has repeatedly denied Palestinians permits to build schools in the West Bank and demolished schools built without permits, making it more difficult or impossible for thousands of children to get an education, Human Rights Watch said today. 

…The Israeli military refuses to permit most new Palestinian construction in the 60 percent of the West Bank where it has exclusive control over planning and building, even as the military facilitates settler construction. 

…The Israeli military refuses to permit most new Palestinian construction in the 60 percent of the West Bank where it has exclusive control over planning and building, even as the military facilitates settler construction. 

…Most West Bank schools at risk of demolition fall within Area C. Israel justifies its demolition of schools and other Palestinian property there not on security grounds, but rather on the grounds that they were built without permits from the military. However, the military refuses the vast majority of Palestinian building requests, and has zoned only 1 percent of Area C for Palestinian building, even as construction proceeds with few constraints in nearby Jewish settlements.

…The three communities are among 46 Palestinian communities that the UN considers at “high risk of forcible transfer” due to an Israeli “relocation” plan that would forcibly evict the entire communities.

…Israel’s destruction of Palestinian schools, and its failure to replace them, violates its obligation as an occupying power to “facilitate the proper working of all institutions devoted to the care and education of children,” and violates the prohibition on interfering with the activities of educational institutions or requisitioning their property. International law prohibits an occupying power from destroying property, including schools, unless “absolutely necessary” for “military operations.” The Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court prohibit widespread, unlawful destruction of property as a war crime.

The intentional forcible transfer of civilians within an occupied territory – the movement of people under duress to a place not of their choosing – is also a grave breach of the laws of war. The Rome Statute states that forcible transfer can occur “directly or indirectly,” through coercive circumstances as well as direct force. Israel’s demolitions of schools are part of a policy that has forced Palestinians to leave their communities.

Israel: Army Demolishing West Bank Schools | Human Rights Watch

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