14 Nov 2014 23:00
November 16, 2014
Khan al Ahmar, West Bank, Palestine
The Khan al-Ahmar School serves the children of the Jahalin Bedouin community in the West Bank and has been declared illegal by Israeli authorities. It is now facing possible demolition. Built in 2009, the school was constructed with mud and tires due to a lack of funds and an Israeli law that bans Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank from building structures made of cement. The children now attend school in poorly equipped classrooms with no heating, leaking ceilings, and little electricity. However, it is possible that even this primitive learning environment could be snatched from them at a moment's notice. Over 140 students are currently enrolled in the school. The nearest alternative school is located about 45 minutes away by car. The school's imminent demolition is part of a plan by Israeli authorities to displace the Jahalin Bedouin living in "Area C" of the occupied West Bank. The Khan Al-Ahmar School and Bedouin community is located in the Jerusalem periphery, between the Israeli settlements of Ma'ale Adumim and Kfar Adumim. While the Jahalin Bedouin have a longstanding presence in this area (they settled in the area in 1948, after being evicted by Israel from their lands in the Negev desert), the community and school present an obstacle to Israel's planned settlement expansion and construction of the separation barrier. The community lives with the constant threat of displacement. Every year, the school administration goes to court in order to postpone the planned demolition of the school. This year they were lucky and the court sided with them. However, the order still stands and next year they may not be so lucky.