Everyone has the Right to Education|
The right to education is a fundamental human right and basic to human freedom. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights underlines the fact that "Education is both a human right in itself and an indispensable means of realizing other human rights". Israel's systematic obstruction of education in the West Bank and Gaza Strip not only violates the human rights of individuals, it is an attack on the development of Palestinian society as a whole.
Students in Detention
Students are arrested on their way to and from university at military checkpoints, while others are arrested during army raids on student homes and dormitories. These students are taken to a detention center and interrogated, often involving some form of abuse or torture such as beatings, sleep and food depravation and being tied in painful positions for long periods.
Closure of Educational Institutions
During the First Intifada, between 1987-1992, Palestinian education was effectively made illegal by the Israeli occupation and all Palestinian universities, schools and even kindergartens were closed down by military order for nearly five years. Since September 2000, tens of schools have been closed by the Israeli Army and turned into military barracks, while hundreds more have been forced to close periodically due to prolonged curfew and obstructed access. Hebron University and the Palestine Polytechnic University were closed down by military order for 8 months in 2003, denying over 6000 students their right to education.
The Wall's Impact on Education
The construction of the Wall through Palestinian cities and villages in the West Bank is having a devastating impact on Palestinians' access to services, including education. The Wall isolates and divides Palestinian population centers, cutting students off from their schools and universities and literally bulldozing through educational institutions in its path.
Incursions and Attacks
Hundreds of schools, kindergartens and eight Palestinian universities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have been shelled, shot at and invaded by Israeli occupation forces since September 2000. Students and teachers are regularly stopped and harassed by soldiers at gunpoint on their way to school and university, and many children have been injured or killed on the way to school and even while sitting at their desks. Classrooms and offices, including those of the Palestinian Ministry of Education, have been raided and ransacked, while a teacher training college in the Gaza Strip was completely demolished in March 2004.
The military closure of the Ramallah-Birzeit road by 'Surda Roadblock' between March 2001 to December 2003 effectively put Birzeit University under seige for nearly 3 years. The road is now open again but remains subject to frequent 'flying checkpoints' when soldiers and Army jeeps block the road to the University, preventing access to students and teachers trying to reach their classes. Surda Roadblock is one of over 700 checkpoints and roadblocks throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip and a clear example of the strangulation of normal life by Israel's illegal policies of collective punishment.