The United Nations yesterday urged Israeli occupation authorities to end “interference” in Palestinian children’s education in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).
“Alarmed by a high number of reported incidents of interference in or near Palestinian schools in the West Bank since the beginning of the school year in September,” the press release stated, the UN called for children “to be better-protected from the effects of Israeli occupation”.
In 2018 alone, the UN noted, there were 111 different documented cases of interference to education in the West Bank affecting more than 19,000 children.
“Classrooms should be a sanctuary from conflict, where children can learn and develop into active citizens,” said Jamie McGoldrick, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in a joint statement with UNICEF Special Representative, Genevieve Boutin, and UN educational, scientific and cultural body UNESCO.
The statement noted “threats of demolition, clashes on the way to school between students and security forces, teachers stopped at checkpoints, and violent actions of Israeli forces and settlers on some occasions.”
“Children should never be the target of violence and must not be exposed to any form of violence,” said the two senior UN officials in the region, as they appealed “for a safe learning environment and the right to quality education for thousands of Palestinian children.”
Meanwhile, the Special Rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, Michael Lynk, also urged the international community to “take decisive action in response to Israel’s recent intensification of settlement activities in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which amounts to a clear rebuff of a two-state solution.”
“If the settlements steps by Israel are left unanswered by the international community, we will be driving past the last exit on the road to annexation,” Michael Lynk added, stressing that the settlements “are the source of a range of persistent human rights violations”.