Following Haaretz Report: Court Blocks Razing of Bedouin School

The High Court of Justice yesterday issued an interim order barring the Civil Administration in the West Bank from destroying a building constructed of tires and mud that is to serve as a school and kindergarten for the Jahalin tribe in the area of Khan al-Ahmar northeast of Jerusalem.

As first reported in Haaretz last month, the eco-friendly school, built of inexpensive materials, was the initiative of members of the Italian non-governmental organization Vento di Terra (Wind of the Earth), which had worked with the Jahalin Bedouin in the past. The Italian group involved Milan architect Valerio Marazzi, who conceived and designed the mud and tire building with an engineer colleague.

The petition was filed following a Civil Administration directive to destroy the building. The three petitioners in the case are mukhtars of three Bedouin groups lacking proper educational facilities for their children. In recent months, at low cost, the residents of the area built an ecologically-friendly school with mud and tires, providing insulation from heat and cold.

The school is located in Area "C" of the West Bank, meaning it is under full Israeli control.

The Bedouin have lived on the site since 1948, but planning authorities at the Civil Administration have not included the Bedouin in development plans for the area. In the absence of formal planning for the location, the Bedouin are unable to apply for building permits either for homes or for public facilities such as schools and health clinics.

The petition to the High Court mentions that similar complaints filed by Bedouin living in Area "C" are also pending without an official response from Israeli authorities or after an agreement between the parties that the army would not take action. In the new case, the court gave the authorities until August 11 to respond.