***image2***The occupation has torn up a stretch of road built to allow the children of Al Walajeh to attend their new school.
Bulldozers arrived under military escort on Sunday and uprooted the one kilometre stretch of road built to serve the primary school, which opened in September. The Occupation also demolished a large poultry shed in west of the village belonging to local man Khalil Shaleb.
The school itself, which is attended by 160 children, is also under threat of demolition as the Occupation administration says that it has been built without a permit. The village mayor said:
âThe occupation uses the permit system as an excuse to steal the land, destroy Palestinian life and stop Palestinian development. All the land that we build on historically belongs to the village, but the Occupation refuses to give us permits to build on it.â
The children of Al Walajeh were previously studying in a number of old houses, which the mayor says were unstable and dangerous. The villagers began builfing the new school in 2004, laying a proper road to serve it. It soon became apparent that the Occupation planned to halt the construction, so the villagers suspended work for one year while they worked to get official permission. When it became clear that the Occupation were not going to issue a permit, they decided that they would have to build without a one. The mayor said:
âWe werenât prepared to wait until the roof collapsed on the students!â
They resumed building, and the school was completed in time for the start of the new term in September. The school now faces an uncertain future.
Permits are refused to Al Walajeh because the Occupation has decided that the village is in an environmentally protected âgreen areaâ. The mayor points out the irony that while the Occupation gives this as a reason for demolishing Palestinian property, it is at the same time tearing up the âenvironmentally protectedâ land to build the Apartheid Wall around Al Walajeh.
The wall will run for six kilometres right around the village. A large area of woodland which was used as a playground by the children of Al Walajeh has already been uprooted. 500 dunums of land will be destroyed for the path of the wall, and another 1,980 dunums will be isolated behind it.