J Street Condemns Demolition of Jubbet adh-Dhib School, Urges US Response

May 7, 2023

J Street is deeply saddened by the demolition of a Palestinian school in the West Bank community of Jubbet adh-Dhib, which was carried out this morning by Israeli authorities in violation of international law.

The school in Jubbet adh-Dhib was constructed with funding from the European Union, and was used by dozens of students. Its demolition is just the latest example of how the occupation treats virtually all Palestinian construction and development in Area C of the West Bank as illegal, and works to prevent Palestinians in occupied territory from living normal, autonomous lives.

The school was demolished at the behest of a lawsuit filed by the right-wing settlement movement NGO Regavim. The mission of Regavim and its allies and backers in the current Israeli governing coalition is to facilitate the ongoing de facto annexation of the West Bank, and to prevent the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

In recent remarks about ongoing efforts to displace and demolish the Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich fully admitted this strategic goal, stating that Khan al-Ahmar is “the area that will decide if heavens forbid there will be territorial contiguity that will connect Bethlehem with Nablus and Ramallah. That’s the reason we are investing in this area now and therefore Khan al-Ahmar will be evacuated.” Smotrich was one of the original founders of Regavim, and was recently given ministerial authority over civilian affairs in the occupied West Bank – itself an act of de jure annexation.

As Smotrich’s comments make clear, his government’s actions in the West Bank are not about legality, security, or Israel’s true long-term interests, but about the settlement movement’s vision of total sovereignty and control. The US government and all those who support a peaceful two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must recognize that the ongoing wave of demolitions, evictions and displacements are deliberately designed to prevent a diplomatic solution, and to trample on human rights. The Biden Administration should condemn today’s demolition in Jubbet adh-Dhib, and take determined action to prevent further acts of de facto annexation.

We urge the Biden Administration to:

  • Support European donor countries’ claims for compensation from Israel for its demolition of foreign aid-funded structures like this school.
  • Make clear that the United States will not block accurate criticism of this and other acts of de facto annexation in international fora.
  • Investigate whether any US-origin military equipment was used in connection with this and similar demolitions and — if so — determine whether such use constitutes a violation of US arms export control law.

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