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The protracted conflict and the occupation have compromised the access to education in the occupied Palestinian territory. In the West Bank, access to education is undermined due to the detention of children, military operations and settler-related incidents; the shortage of physical infrastructure due to building restrictions in Area C and East Jerusalem; and movement restrictions such as the checkpoints and the Barrier. In the Gaza Strip, armed conflict and the resulting damage and destruction of facilities, the Israeli Blockade, and the internal Palestinian divide, have severely disrupted services, including the ability to conduct regular educational activities. Combined with their negative psychosocial effects, these factors have affected student wellbeing, performance and completion rates.
Articles, statements and press releases
A new fence installed by the Israeli authorities around two Palestinian neighbourhoods in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron city (H2), As Salaymeh and Gheith, further separates up to 1,800 Palestinians from the rest of the city. This is in addition to the recent reinforcement (including the installment of turnstiles) of two pre-existing checkpoints controlling access to the area where the new fence was installed. These developments disrupt the livelihoods and family life of Palestinians living in the two neighbourhoods and limit access to basic services like health and education.
The targeting of key service infrastructure in already vulnerable communities in Area C in recent months has exacerbated the coercive environment and places residents at risk of forcible transfer. In August, on the eve of the new school year, the Israeli authorities requisitioned nine educational-related structures serving 170 children in three such communities.
Joint statement by Save the Children, UNICEF and the Humanitarian Coordinator for the oPt: Scores of Palestinian children continue to struggle to realize their right to education as students return to school last week. School demolitions, confiscation of equipment, double shifts, inability to prioritise education and underfunding have complicated children’s access to education.
Following a wave of Palestinian attacks, including suicide bombings, Israel began building a Barrier in 2002 with the stated aim of preventing such attacks. The Barrier’s deviation from the Israeli-declared municipal boundary of Jerusalem has resulted in some Palestinian localities in East Jerusalem, especially Kafr Aqab and Shufat camp area, becoming separated from the urban centre. Although residents retain their permanent residency status and continue to pay municipal taxes, these areas have effectively been abandoned by the municipality.
The restrictive planning regime applied in Area C, which comprises over 60 per cent of the West Bank and where Israel retains near exclusive control, makes it virtually impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits. This prevents them from developing basic services in their communities, including education. Over a third of the residential areas in Area C (189 out of 532) lack a primary school and children are forced to travel long distances, sometimes on foot, to reach the nearest school.
In January 1997, Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) signed the Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron. In the agreement, Israel handed over control of 80 per cent of Hebron city (18 km² known as H1) to the Palestinian Authority, while keeping full control over the remaining 20 per cent (known as H2). H2 includes four Israeli settlement compounds, home to a few hundred Israeli settlers and a population of over 40,000 Palestinians.