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Israel threatens to demolish Bedouin school- Beaumont

September 2012

KHAN AL-AHMAR, West Bank (AP) — Dozens of children returned to school on Sunday, taking part in an annual ritual that has taken on special meaning in this Bedouin tent camp. The makeshift school buildings, cobbled together from mud and old tires, were built over the objections of Israeli authorities who are now threatening to demolish the structures. Israel says it won’t tear them down until alternate facilities are available.

“We’ll go to school until it’s demolished,” said 10-year-old Islam Hussein as she dashed to the school on a nearby hill, after hastily dressing in clothes her mother gave her. She was faster than her brother, Mohammed, 6. Their mother Sara playfully threw shoes at them as she told them not to be late.

Behind them was their home: a series of huts of tin, plastic and wood, forming a kitchen, sleeping room and animal pens. Nearby was the family’s camel herd. Bedouins have lived in similar conditions for centuries, sometimes preferring a nomadic life style to the offer of government-built towns.

About 150,000 Palestinians, or 6 percent of the total number in the West Bank, including those of Khan al-Ahmar, live in the 60 percent of the territory that remains under full Israeli control. This territory is also home to Jewish settlements, where 300,000 Israelis live.

Palestinian Bedouin Students pray at their school at Khan al-Ahmar, near the west bank city of Jericho, Sunday, Sept 2. 2012. Dozens of Palestinian children in the ramshackle Bedouin community outside Jerusalem defy Israeli authorities with a simple act: going to school for the beginning of the scholastic year. Their school is a series of buildings made of mud and old tires that were built over the objections of Israeli authorities who are now threatening to demolish the structures. Israeli authorities say the community is willfully building illegally. Photo: Majdi Mohammed / AP

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