Israeli forces raided a kindergarten and primary school in occupied East Jerusalem Monday, terrifying children who witnessed the assault and prompting outrage among Palestinians.
Police officers barged into Zahwa al-Quds kindergarten and primary school in the neighborhood of Beit Hanina, arresting the school’s deputy principal and three teachers for refusing to teach the Israeli curriculum.
“Israel is attempting to force our school to adopt the Israeli education curriculum,” Ziad al-Shamali, head of the school’s parent committee, told Al Jazeera Tuesday.
We are refusing this, so they decided to raid our school and scare our children.
They don’t want anything Palestinian left. They want all of our schools to be for Israelis, so they will keep making it difficult for our children to learn. These raids make the children scared to go to school.”
One teacher, Ola Nini, said the Israeli officers searched every classroom, demanding teachers’ IDs which they then photocopied. They also deleted surveillance footage of the raid after forcing their way into the principal’s office to confiscate school papers.
Rachel Greenspan, a spokesman for the local government, has since denied the raid ever took place.
Nini also said authorities had conducted a previous raid in September, just months after the school’s Israeli permit was taken away. The move forced the school to seek a Palestinian permit from the al-Waqf Islamic Trust instead.
Tahseen Elayyan, from Palestinian human-rights NGO al-Haq, said Israel wants “to suppress the Palestinian narrative, especially since the curriculum does not mention the atrocities committed against Palestinians in 1948 and other historical facts that are linked to Palestinian history on this land.”
Top photo | FILE – Israeli police check the identification cards of Palestinian school children at a checkpoint in Jerusalem. (AP/Oded Balilty)