Update from May 8, 2022: Yesterday morning (5.7.23), the Palestinian school in Jubbet Ad Dhib was demolished by Israel.
The Palestinian school in Jubbet Ad Dhib was demolished by the army yesterday morning, May 7th, following a District Court ruling that ordered its demolition. The right-wing organization Regavim claimed that the school was illegal and unsafe and petitioned for its demolition. The Civil Administration carried out the demolition in accordance with the court order.
Peace Now: This tragic event has left the children of Jubbet Ad Dhib without a school and without access to education. It is shameful that the government of Israel is prioritizing the demands of right-wing settlers over the basic needs of Palestinian residents in the Occupied Territories. The village of Jubbet Ad Dhib has long suffered from a lack of basic infrastructure, including electricity connections and public buildings, and the demolition of the only school in the village will further compound the difficulties faced by the community. The Israeli government must cease its policy of demolishing Palestinian structures and rather, to fulfill its moral and legal obligation to provide basic services to Palestinian communities in the Occupied Territories.
The school was at risk of demolition following a petition by the right-wing organization Regavim, claiming that it is illegal and unsafe. The District Court ordered the Civil Administration to demolish the school by May 5th.
Peace Now “It is shameful that the government of Israel, vis-a-vis the Civil Administration, now headed by Smotrich, is about to demolish a school for Palestinian children. While the government has never bothered to fulfill its moral and legal obligation to provide the most basic needs for Palestinian residents in the Occupied Territories, in recent years, it has intensified and adopted settler demands to demolish even basic structures that provide necessities like education.”
Jubbet Adh Dib is located at the foot of the Herodium, an archeological site east of Bethlehem. The village suffers from a lack of basic infrastructure, from electricity connections to public buildings. The school in the village serves all the children of the village. It is located at the southern end of the village and is composed of a makeshift structure, a synthetic grass field, and a water tank (see attached photo). Recently, following a petition and pressure from the Regavim organization, the District Court ruled that the school should be demolished, and now it is at risk of demolition.
In the past, the Civil Administration rejected the village’s development plans, forcing residents to build without building permits and find alternative sources of electricity. In 2017, the Civil Administration demolished the school that the residents had built and the solar power system installed by the Comet Me organization with funding from the Dutch government. Since then, the electricity system and school have been rebuilt for the basic functioning of the village.
In 2018, the right-wing organization Regavim petitioned to the Supreme Court demanding that the Civil Administration be instructed to demolish the school building, built without permits and on the fringes of one of the important archaeological sites in the West Bank. The court accepted Regavim’s claim and ordered the Civil Administration to demolish the school, but did not set a timeline for the demolition.
In 2021, Regavim filed another petition, this time to the District Court (acting as an Administrative Court), demanding that the court issue a concrete timeline for the government to fulfill its commitment to demolish the school building. In March 2023, the court ordered the state to demolish the school within two months, by May 5, 2023.
This means that the Civil Administration is expected to demolish the school building. The residents of the village appealed to the Supreme Court, but since there was no stay of execution order, the Civil Administration can demolish the school at any day.
Regavim’s request to demolish the school in Jubbet Ahd Dib joins other legal actions and petitions demanding the demolition of schools built in villages in the occupied West Bank. For example, Regavim filed an appeal demanding that the Civil Administration demolish schools in the village of Kisan, located east of Bethlehem, and in Hammam al-Malih, located east of Nablus (in the Jordan Valley), among others.