[News] Israel cuts school buses for Bedouin children

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jan 21 18:14:19 EST 2020


  Israel cuts school buses for Bedouin children

Tamara Nassar <https://electronicintifada.net/people/tamara-nassar> - 21 
January 2020


Thousands of Palestinian Bedouin preschoolers haven’t been in class for 
days after Israeli authorities halted their only means of getting to school.

The Neve Midbar Regional Council announced 
on 12 January that buses would stop serving 20 villages in the southern 
Naqab (Negev) region the next day without prior warning.

As a result, some 2,200 Bedouin children had not been to school in over 
three days, according <https://www.adalah.org/en/content/view/9891> to 
Adalah <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/adalah>, a legal advocacy 
group for Palestinians in Israel.

It is notable that 16 of the affected villages are “unrecognized,” 
including Bir al-Hammam, al-Zarnouq, Abda and Rahma, among others.

Israel virtually bars unrecognized villages 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/unrecognized-villages> in the Naqab 
from building new structures.

    No access to schools

Israel has forcibly displaced Bedouins residing in those villages 
multiple times 
since its establishment in 1948.

In addition to barring development, Israel denies Bedouin communities 
essential services like adequate water and electricity.

Thousands of Bedouins have had their citizenship revoked.

The Israeli government is still intent on expelling Bedouins from the 
unrecognized Naqab village of Umm al-Hiran 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/umm-al-hiran> in order to build a 
Jewish-only settlement in its place.

Last April, Israel said it would build an elementary school in the 
village of Rahma after 13 years of local struggle.

Even then, the school will be a “temporary campus made up of mobile 
homes,” according 
to Israeli daily /Haaretz/.

    Right to education

Israeli law mandates education for children aged 3 to 15.

Yet a recent report by Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, says that 
nearly 5,000 Bedouin children between the ages of 3 and 5 did not attend 
school in the 2017-2018 academic years.

Since Bedouin residents of unrecognized villages are barred from 
building, their children are forced to travel to schools far away.

Children in Rahma have had to commute 26 kilometers to the villages of 
Wadi al-Naam and Qasr al-Sir to attend elementary school.

The decision to halt bus services hinders children’s right to an 
“accessible, adequate, safe and decent education,” Adalah said 
in a letter to Israel’s education ministry and Neve Midbar Regional Council.

Adalah attorney Aiah Haj Odeh wrote the letter on behalf of the 
children’s parents and the Regional Council for Unrecognized Villages in 
the Negev, a grassroots committee established 
in 1997.

Adalah is demanding that Israel’s education ministry immediately renew 
funding for the school buses.

    No running water in school

The rights of school children are also being violated elsewhere in the 

Some 500 students of the Tel Arad School have had no access 
to running water recently.

The education ministry and the al-Kasum regional council, where the 
school is located, said they would resolve the issue. But they have yet 
to do so, according to parents.

Parents decided to go on strike and not send their children to school 
until the issue is resolved.

One parent ran a water pipe from his own house to the school, but this 
was not a sustainable solution.

“The responsibility is of the state, and not of the parents to make sure 
there will be running water for our children,” said 
Ali Nabari, the head of the parent association.

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