Bullets, demolitions and dreams: West Bank education under threat

September 19, 2019
Schoolchildren in Palestinian areas under direct Israeli military control find themselves on the frontline and under constant threat from army raids and settler violence

Children in Tahadi school, West Bank

Shatha Hammad reports in Middle East Eye:

At 7:45 am sharp, 41 Palestinian children swiftly form neat lines in front of their school to perform the morning scout band routine. Leading the young students is their peer Ibtisam al-Wahsh, who proudly carries her band’s flag high as she sings the national anthem.  The children, aged between six and nine years old, echo her words loudly, their eyes directed at the Palestinian flag hanging from one of the school’s windows.

Situated between the small villages of Jubbet al-Dhib and Beit Taamir in the southern occupied West Bank governorate of Bethlehem, Al-Tahadi School 5 is – once again – under threat of demolition by Israeli forces.

Severely underfunded, the school has no walls to surround it, no front gate or even umbrellas or a canopy to shade the children from the heat of the sun or the winter rain. The playground consists of dirt and gravel, and there are no toys for the children to play with.

Ibtisam makes the daily journey to school on a dirt road strewn with rocks and prickly shrubs. The eight-year-old says she wants to become a doctor or an Arabic language teacher.  Despite being torn between the two, she tells Middle East Eye that she is leaning towards the latter. “I want to return to my school and become a teacher so that I can prevent the Israeli army from demolishing it.”

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