Right to Education Campaign in the Jordan Valley
The right to education is a universal entitlement recognized by the UN’s International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This means the right to free compulsory education for all. For over seven years Jordan Valley Solidarity (JVS) have been working with local communities to challenge the control that Israeli military commanders have over their children’s education.
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As a result of the ongoing Israeli Occupation of Palestine, and the Israeli policy towards Palestinian citizens living in Area C of the West Bank, many children are denied their right to education. The Oslo II Accord divided Palestine into three administrative divisions: Areas A (under full civil and security control by the Palestinian Authority, circa 3% of the West Bank), B (under Palestinian civil control and joint Israeli-Palestinian security control, circa 23-25%), and C (under full Israeli civil and security control, circa 72-74%) The children of Al Ibkea (a region in the north of the Jordan Valley, Area C) are without schools in their communities and must travel long distances (60 kilometers for some) in order to get to schools located in Area A. Some children must leave their homes by 5am every day in order to get to school on time. On their way to and from school, children face harassment and attacks by both settlers and the Israeli Army. Some families are forced to send their children to live with friends or relatives in Area A in order to get an education. This division of family is of course incredibly painful and bad for the emotional growth of the child. Many girls are forbidden from going to school at all because of the distance, and the danger of traveling to and from school. Currently in Al Ibkea there are 120 children without easy access to education, many of these 120 are unable to attend school at all. We see education as the key to peace in Palestine. Educated communities are much more likely understand their circumstances better, and to resist oppression in a nonviolent way.
Our campaign focuses on providing the communities in the Jordan Valley region of Al Ibkea with a professional quality school located in the village of Khirbet Samra. This school will serve the children of five villages including Khirbet Samra, Ras al Ahmar, Al Hadidiya, Mak-hul, and Khirbet Humsa. Thanks to our local and international volunteers, France Palestine Solidarity, Brighton Jordan Valley Solidarity, and our friends in Brazil and Norway we have succeeded in building one room, and are in the process of building the second one. Are goal is to build two school rooms, a bathroom, and playground. The labor is provided for free by local and foreign volunteers, but we need funds for the cost of supplies and materials.
Materials we need:
- concrete (floor, roof)
- iron (four windows, two door frames)
- plaster (walls)
- plumbing (pipes etc.)
- bathroom (toilet, sink, etc.)
- playground (iron, plastic)
- solar panel (at least $4000)
In addition to the cost of materials, we need to cover the cost of transportation of materials and volunteers to and from Samra. Our goal is to raise at least $9,000
Without the help of donations we will not be able to continue the project. If you would like to donate and support the children’s right to education in Area C please pay through Paypal.
Background Info on Area C and the Jordan Valley
93.4% of the Jordan Valley is considered Area C. Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley suffer from a severe shortage of basic services. Most communities, especially those located in Area C, are not connected to electricity, water, telephone, or sewage networks, in addition to lacking public transportation. Since 1967 the Israeli military occupation has been attempting to gradually annex the area (which is 28% of the occupied West Bank). On the ground, the occupation forces seek to control more and more of the Jordan Valley by expanding their illegal Israeli colonies and attempting to drive Palestinians from their land through house demolitions, movement restrictions, curfews, arbitrary arrests and detention, land confiscations, and denial of access to water, electricity, health, and education. Thus Palestinian citizens living in Area C are forced to travel far distances to areas A or B for health care services, education, and to obtain water. The area has been segmented through the Israeli implementation of check points, closed military and live firing zones, settlements, and closed “natural” areas. Many families and communities have been separated as a result of this segmentation.
The Jordan Valley is particularly valuable to Israel for its rich agricultural land, natural water resources (Jordan River, Dead Sea, and many fresh springs), and the Jordanian border. All the Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley are agricultural, growing products such as bananas, dates, and oranges. Israel provides them with land, water, and electricity at a highly discounted rate. Without these production costs, the settlers can sell their product at a competitively low rate. This serves the economic interests of Israel, as well as its markets in Europe and the United States.
Over the years, the Jordan Valley region of Al Ibkea (Area C) has been specifically targeted by the occupation forces, making life particularly difficult for those living there. Since the second intifada this region has been closed off from Area A by a man made bank that Palestinians are forbidden to cross over. Before the bank was built, the travel distance from Al Ebkea to the city of Tamoun (Area A) was 12 kilometers. Now in order to get from Al Ebkea to Tamoun one must travel 60 kilometers and pass through an Israeli check point. The residents of Al Ebkea must travel this distance for health care services, education, and to buy water from Israel at 25 Shekels per cubic meter. Often times the IDF makes this process even more difficult by delaying them at the check points, preventing them from passing, or confiscating their water tanks. Residents of Al Ibkea are prevented from building any concrete structures, and thus have been living in temporary barracks and tents for many years.
Israel’s justification for occupying the Jordan Valley has always been security purposes. Thus, consecutive Israeli governments have implemented plans that will grant complete control of the area. Through such policies and acts, Israel continues efforts to eliminated the Palestinian presence in the Jordan Valley and isolate it from the West Bank in order to create facts on the ground before executing a unilateral plan that will exclude the region from the West Bank. Because Area C is under complete Israeli civil and security control, the PA and NGO’s claim they cannot do anything to support Palestinians living there. This is why international support for grassroots organizations such as Jordan Valley Solidarity is so important.
Who we are
Jordan Valley Solidarity is a network of Palestinian grassroots community groups from all over the Jordan Valley, and international supporters. Our aims are to protect Palestinian existence and the unique environment of the Jordan Valley by building international support and supporting communities on the ground. As a grassroots campaign we rely entirely on local and foreign volunteers. We have no budget to speak of, or any sources of funding, except in the rare cases that a person or an institution comes forward willing to fund a project that the campaign has undertaken. Since its inception, the campaign has been open to working with any individual or organization that shares its political analysis of the problems facing the Palestinians of the Jordan Valley and shares the commitment to maintaining and strengthening Palestinian presence in the Valley. The Campaign for the Right to Education is one of many Jordan Valley Solidarity projects. For more information on Jordan Valley Solidarity visit www.jordanvalleysolidarity.org