Israel Dismantles Palestinian Prefab Classrooms Near Jerusalem

Residents said the move reflected government policy to remove Palestinians from the area to expand settlement construction near Ma'aleh Adumim.

Housing sits on the development at Ma'aleh Adumim, an Israeli settlement on the West Bank, December 16, 2009. The European Union criticized Israel for listing some Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank as special zones, saying the move is against the spirit of a freeze on settlement building.
Ahikam Seri/Bloomberg

Army and Civil Administration forces have dismantled prefab homes and classrooms for the Abu Anwar community east of Jerusalem near the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim.

Resident Ahmed Ibrahim told Haaretz the troops Saturday night loaded the dismantled homes onto trucks after taking everything inside. The rooms served as classrooms for first- to third-graders, as well as a staff room.

Ibrahim said the seven homes had been received recently to house 40 students and let them study in better conditions than in the previous classrooms made out of tin sheets.

Palestinian news agency Wafa said the homes had been bought with aid from the French government. It said the children had nowhere else to study, while older students had to walk five kilometers to school.

For its part, the Civil Administration said four prefab structures had been seized in the area, known as E-1, saying they had been placed there illegally. 

In recent years, the Civil Administration has demanded that the authorities demolish buildings that international organizations, particularly European ones, have donated.

Local people said the operation reflected government policy to remove Palestinians from the area to expand settlement construction and cut off the West Bank from Jerusalem in the E-1 area.

“I don’t know what bothers them that our children will study in a somewhat normal environment,” Abu Imad al-Jahalin said. “They don’t want it here and are doing everything to smother us.”