The right to education of Palestinian children in the West Bank is at risk in the Israeli occupied territories, international NGO Save the Children announced on Monday.
In a statement released to mark Universal Children’s Day, Palestine Country Director Jennifer Moorhead called for authorities to support the greater protection of education centres saying that “children’s most fundamental right to education is being eroded” in the Palestinian territories.
Moorehead spoke of her visit to schools in the West Bank, where she spoke with local community leaders about the issues of access Palestinians were facing. She also cited the numerous demolitions of local schools by Israeli occupying authorities in recent months, including those funded by European charities and NGOs
“School demolitions, threats of violence and harassment, military presence in and around school premises and lack of adequate resources are all undermining children’s basic right to education,” the statement read.
These children are being denied a future in areas where unemployment has risen to among the highest in the world and restrictions on movement make it difficult to get to school or university or access vital healthcare.
Save the Children called upon the international community to ensure that Palestinian’s children’s “inalienable right” to education was protected, especially in the occupied territories.
“We call upon those with responsibility for upholding children’s rights in the oPt [occupied Palestinian territories] and world leaders to address the growing child protection risks in the education sector … and to take concrete and immediate steps towards the demilitarisation of school spaces.”
Earlier this year, Israeli occupation authorities destroyed and damaged three internationally funded schools in the West Bank shortly before children were due to begin the new academic year.
According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, which funds schools in the area, more than 60 schools in the West Bank are currently at risk of demolition and children in schools across the West Bank face attacks on their right to education.
The first half of 2017 saw 93 “education-related incidents” affecting 13,906 Palestinian students, including Israeli soldiers firing tear gas canisters and sound bombs at students on their way to or from school, as well as the arrest of children from their classrooms and harassment at checkpoints.