mega888 Defend Our Schools

Defend Our Schools

The Palestinian struggle for the right to education is a central element in the effort to resist apartheid Israel’s policies of ethnic cleansing and annexation of Palestinian land.

Below you can find two ways of building concrete and effective support to Palestinian communities, students and teachers.

Background 


Denial of education has been persistent over a long period in Israeli apartheid policy to ethnically cleanse the Palestinian land from its indigenous people. The Israeli colonial state is trying to threaten the Palestinian right to education by targeting schools, teachers and students.

According to UN OCHA statistics, around 5820 demolition orders have been issued since 2015. 

54 Palestinian schools in Area ‘C’ are currently under threat to be demolished. 6400 Palestinian students will be denied their right to education if the Israeli Authorities continue to target their schools. In Masafer Yatta, four schools are under the threat of destruction after the Israeli Supreme court issued demolition orders to the schools of Jinba, Khallet ad-Daba’, Khirbet al-Fakhiet, Khirbet al-Majaz. 

Schools in Area C have been subjected to systematic attacks, including terrorizing and detaining students and teachers, preventing them from accessing their schools and confiscating their properties. 115 education-related violations by Israeli authorities or settlers were documented in the first half of 2022, more than 8000 students were affected. These systematic attacks on Palestinian schools render life in the often marginalized villages even more dire and are intended to force the families to leave the area to protect their children. This in turn, serves Israel’s ultimate aim: to ethnically cleanse, colonize and annex the Palestinian lands. 

Area C is under complete Israeli control and it is Area C that the discriminatory and apartheid features of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians are the most evident. Palestinian villages, as opposed to the well-resourced illegal Israeli settlements, are denied basic services and infrastructure. In addition to withholding the right to education, Israel denies Palestinians in Area C adequate water, healthcare, and other basic human rights.

Parents, students and teachers are rightly worried that under the current brazenly racist and far-right government, the attacks on them are going to intensify as apartheid Israel accelerates the implementation of its annexation plan of Palestinian land. 

This campaign  is about the right to education, which is inseparable from  the right to water, food, and the right to live in peace and security in your home and environment. This is about protecting the youth and future generations by ensuring that they have access to education. 

It is time to act now.

Defend Palestinian Schools: A call for solidarity advocates for Palestinian schools threatened with demolition

Objectives

Connect institutions and public figures with Palestinian schools threatened with demolition to

  1. Build awareness around Israel’s systematic and planned policy to deny Palestinians the right to education
  2. Educate the public about Israel’s denial of the Palestinian’s right to education as a tool with its policies of ethnic cleansing, annexation and apartheid
  3. Build a network of people and institutions that can use their public platforms to effectively take action and pressure governments to hold apartheid Israel accountable when there is an attack on a Palestinian school or students and teachers

What does a solidarity advocate for Palestinian schools do?

We are looking for elected officials, celebrities and other public figures to become solidarity  advocates  of Palestinian schools. The solidarity advocates  would be expected to:

(1) regularly share stories, videos, and information about the school and the children who attend the school on their social media platforms and elsewhere, 

(2) agree that as solidarity advocates  of the school, their name will be placed on a plaque in the school, letting both the school community and the Israeli authorities threatening demolition know that there is public international support for this school, and 

(3) join in relevant campaigns to protect the school and the children who attend it. This includes campaigns that are directly related to the school, and broader campaigns calling for the right to education for Palestinian children

Below are some sample campaign ideas but each solidarity advocate will be asked to do what is relevant to their position to help their school.

Steps for Securing a Solidarity advocate for a Palestinian School

1. Identify celebrities, elected officials, and other public figures to become patrons and get in touch for materials

If you are interested in reaching out to a public figure in your community, including schools that have twinned with Palestinian schools, please contact us. We will prepare a profile of a Palestinian school targeted with demolition that you can present with your request for the public figure to become a patron. We can provide speakers to meet with your group and the interested public figure. 

We encourage schools that have twinned with a Palestinian school to organize the parents, students, teachers, trades union,  and broader community to ask for their elected officials to become patrons of the school too. 

2. Launch the Patronship

Let’s launch the solidarity campaign with a public announcement on social media and in local media! This is a great opportunity to demonstrate the growing support for the Palestinian right to education and to highlight the stories of a particular school.

3. Stand up in solidarity

Schools, teachers and students are under daily attack by the Israeli military. Break through the silence. 

Solidarity Advocates can:

  • Work with local or national media to ensure the story of the attacks on Palestinian schools is being told and Palestinian voices are being heard and put within the context of Israel’s systematic attack on the right to education of the Palestinian people. The denial of the right to education is part of the Israeli colonial project of ethnic cleansing and, as was the case in South Africa, ending international complicity is essential to dismantle  Israeli apartheid and guarantee Palestinian right to self-determination. 
  • In case of demolition of a particular school, make public statements to the media and lift up the voices of the Palestinian students and teachers most impacted. Join in the local campaign to rebuild or relocate the school according to the plans of the local community. 
  • Issue a public statement or letter, denouncing what is happening to Palestinian schools and demanding action from your government to hold Israel accountable for its violations of Palestinian rights, including by supporting efforts within the UN to dismantle and investigate apartheid, in support of the call of the Palestinian anti-apartheid struggle.
  • Explore how their community could become an Apartheid Free Zone (AFZ), committing to refraining from any kind of support or assistance to Israeli apartheid, colonialism and occupation. Learn more here.
  • Ask their city council to pass a motion in solidarity, denouncing what is happening to Palestinian schools and/or declaring themselves  an Apartheid Free Municipality (following the example of dozens of cities across the world).

Note: You may agree with the school that you are the patron of to send some symbolic donations but this cannot be the aim of the effort. For far too long the international community has rendered Israeli apartheid sustainable, including by paying for the damages and losses caused by Israeli violations of Palestinian rights. This effort is about raising awareness, building broader support for the Palestinian cause, and uplifting the voices of Palestinians directly impacted by the attacks on education.

Palestinians are demanding justice, freedom and equality and asking the international community to ensure Israel is held to account for its violations. The most effective way for you to contribute to this is to build the Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) movement and to ensure your government, state and institutions end complicity with Israeli apartheid and impose targeted and lawful sanctions. 

School twinning: Build solidarity with Palestinian schools threatened with demolition

Objectives

  1. Create empathy, connection and a sense of responsibility between twinned schools
  2. Build awareness around Israel’s systematic and planned policy to deny Palestinians the right to education 
  3. Educate about Israel’s denial of the Palestinian’s right to education as a tool within its policies of ethnic cleansing, annexation and apartheid
  4. Build a network of people and institutions that effectively take action and pressure governments to hold apartheid Israel accountable when there is an attack on a Palestinian school or students and teachers

It is time to act now.

How it works 

1. Get in touch

If you are an educator or a member of a teacher’s unions that can work with their educational institution to build a twinning project with a Palestinian school, get in touch with us now:

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2. Work out the institutional and political framework

We will arrange a series of meetings, during which we discuss what the necessary institutional or bureaucratic steps may be and how to make this happen. Equally important is to ensure that we agree what the political intention and responsibility of solidarity is. 

Palestinians – including children – are actors in a struggle of justice, not mere victims. Your solidarity is not pity or charity but comes down to taking responsibility for the complicity of the international community with Israeli apartheid and taking action to change it.  

3. Launch the Twinning

Let’s launch the twinning with a public announcement and build concrete actions of inter-action. The twinning actions can include online meetings, exchange of letters and drawings, video diaries, etc. It all depends on our creativity and each twinning will be developed in cooperation with the relevant teachers. 

4. Stand up in solidarity

Schools, teachers and students are under daily attack by the Israeli military. Don’t stay silent. 

You can: 

  • Issue a public statement or letter, denouncing what is happening to Palestinian schools and demanding action from your government to hold Israel accountable for its violations of Palestinian rights, including by supporting efforts within the UN to dismantle and investigate apartheid, in support of the call of the Palestinian anti-apartheid struggle.
  • Explore how your teachers union or school could become an Apartheid Free Zone (AFZ), committing to refraining from any kind of support or assistance to Israeli apartheid, colonialism and occupation. Learn more here.
  • Ask your city council to pass a motion in solidarity, denouncing what is happening to Palestinian schools and/or declaring themselves  an Apartheid Free Municipality (following the example of dozens of cities across the world).
  • Work with your local or national media to ensure the story of the attacks on Palestinian schools is being told, Palestinian voices are being heard and put within the context of Israel’s systematic attack on the right to education of the Palestinian people. The denial of the right to education is part of the Israeli colonial project of ethnic cleansing and, as was the case in South Africa, ending international complicity is essential to dismantle  Israeli apartheid and guarantee Palestinian right to self-determination. 

Note: You may agree with the school you are twinning to send some symbolic donations but this cannot be the aim of the effort. For far too long the international community has rendered Israeli apartheid sustainable, including by paying for the damages and losses caused by Israeli violations of Palestinian rights. 

Palestinians are demanding justice, freedom and equality and asking the international community to ensure Israel is held to account for its violations. The most effective way for you to contribute to this is to build the Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) movement and to ensure your government, state and institutions end complicity with Israeli apartheid and impose targeted and lawful sanctions. 

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