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Israeli warplanes leveled an American-style private school on Saturday morning that employees say had no connection to the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip or to armed activity in the Strip.
The American International School in Gaza (AISG) in Beit Lahiya was founded by Americans in 2001. An elite private institution, AISG stressed teaching English as a second language and instilling progressive, enlightened values in its students using an American
Now, more than 200 students and dozens of faculty and staff will have nowhere to go when Israel ends its aggression on the Gaza Strip.
“I have no idea what will happen to us,” said Rawan Al-Masri a first grade teacher at the K-12 school. “Where will the students study? Now there is nothing.”
The school, according to its website, has a mission to teach such ideals as “An understanding and appreciation of global interrelationships to face the opportunities and challenges of a constantly changing world,” and “Engage social consciousness,” is culturally distant from HamasÂ’ political Islam.
Al-Masri, spoke on the phone from her home in Gaza City, where she and her family have been hunkered down for eight days. An airstrike nearby blew out the windows, so the family is shivering, without electricity or gas to cook with.
The school consisted of two to three buildings, which Al-Masri said would have taken separate rockets to destroy. The early morning airstrike killed just one person, security guard Salim Abu Qalil.
The American International School is just one of the targets destroyed in the 700 separate aistrikes Israel launched out since 27 December. The Israeli military on Saturday morning said it had destroyed a “college” that was linked with Hamas military activity.
Explosions cracking in the background, Al-Masri expressed despair for the children at the school who have known only war. “They didnÂ’t live their childhood,” she says.
“But they do know the difference between an F16 and an Apache,” explaining that Gazans of all ages have learned to differentiate between the sounds of the American-made jets and helicopters that have rained fire down on them. She says they have come to prefer the thump of helicopter blades, knowing that the supersonic jets will be less accurate with their missiles.
“It’s a disaster,” she adds, “Their target is now the civilians. They won’t finish until they kill all of us.”