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European Union condemns Israel for demolishing EU-funded West Bank school

Israel says school was constructed illegally, without a building license

Israeli troops take position during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli troops after Israeli machinery demolishes a school near Bethlehem, May 7, 2023. (Photo: REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma)

The European Union on Sunday criticized Israel’s decision to demolish a Palestinian school in the Gush Etzion region south of Jerusalem. Israel reported that the school was constructed illegally with funding from the EU.

“The EU has been following this case closely and has asked the Israeli authorities not to carry out the demolition which directly affects 81 children and their education,” stated the European Union’s external affairs spokesperson Peter Stano. 

Stano claimed that such “demolitions are illegal under international law" and that "children’s right to education must be respected.”

A local student, Mohammed Ibrahim, told Reuters that he and his peers want to continue studying. 

"We got ready to come to school and when we arrived, we didn't find the school. We want a school today! We want to study, if they (the IDF) will keep demolishing, we will keep building," said Ibrahim. 

Israeli authorities, however, argue that the school building was constructed without a legal building permit.

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli authority in charge of affairs in the West Bank, confirmed that the structure was illegal and, in addition, “was found to be dangerous to the safety of anyone studying or otherwise visiting there.” 

The local Palestinian population in Judea and Samaria, known as the West Bank, frequently complains it is very difficult to be granted a building permit from Israeli authorities. 

In December 2022, Israel's Channel 13 news did an exposé on an document alleging that the EU is helping the Palestinian Authority to seize land under Israeli control.

The EU document outlines a plan to empower pro-Palestinian organizations to acquire land in Area C of the West Bank in order to expand the Palestinian presence.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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