Education Under Occupation: East Jerusalem

An interview with Zakaria Odeh This interview, by Jody Sokolower, first appeared in Rethinking Schools magazine, spring 2016. When Israel declared itself a state in 1948, it forcibly ejected 750,000 Palestinians, who became refugees. The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, ended up under Jordanian control; Gaza under Egyptian control. Almost 20 years later, as a result of the June 1967 war, all those areas were conquered by Israel. Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza, but it annexed East Jerusalem—in the face of universal opposition from the international community and in defiance of international law. Palestinian residents of Jerusalem were issued special Jerusalem ID cards, which identify them as “permanent residents.” Now the Israeli government and the illegal settlers are determined to push all Palestinians out of Jerusalem; they have declared it the capital of Israel. As a result, the houses of Palestinian Jerusalemites are demolished; trees and crops are destroyed; children as young as 10 years old are repeatedly arrested and tortured; more and more Israeli settlers have moved into the area, taking over Palestinian homes and land. This interview explores the impact on Palestinian children and their education. Zakaria Odeh is executive director of the Civic Coalition in East Jerusalem. This interview was conducted in November 2015. Jody Sokolower: How is the escalating violence in East Jerusalem, and throughout Palestine, affecting children? Zakaria Odeh: This violent situation didn’t start with the recent escalation. This is the result of all the various policies that Israel has been implementing over many…

Continue Reading Education Under Occupation: East Jerusalem