Violation: Vandalization and arson in As Sawiya Gilrls High School.
Perpetrators: Eli colonists
Date: October 20th, 2010.
Education is considered to be one of the most important pillars of any given society as nations pride themselves mostly on the sophistication of its educational system. As such, international norms, treaties and conventions have all advocated for the sanctity of education and to assure its respect in the different locations of the World. Yet, it seems that the Israeli occupation (since its inception in 1948) has adopted the deliberate policy of depriving Palestinians of their education as it is the shortest and easiest way to keep them under the thumb of occupation. The Palestinian land in its entirety is a target of the occupation and its policies. Recent incident indicate that Palestinian education is also included in the list of Israeli targets.
At the dawn of Wednesday October 20th, 2010, a group of colonists from the colony of Eli forced their way into the premises of As Sawiya Girls High School located east of the village on the main By-Pass Road 60. The colonists took advantage of the darkness of the night and broke the locks of the main gate of the school and made their way into it. They wrote offensive sentences of the walls of the school in addition to a sentence at the main gate that translates to “Salute from the Champions of the Hills” in reference to the colonists of Eli which is centered of the eastern hills of As Sawiya.
Moreover, the colonists raided the storage room of the school and put it aflame which led to the burning of all of its content of used furniture.
Photos 2+3: The effect of the fire that swept through the storage room of the school.
This violation was not the first on the schools of As Sawiya as the boys school was attacked more than once as was the case with the Girls Elementary School and Al Lubban Al Sharqiya High School. Mr. Mahmoud Hasan Asa’ad, the head of As Sawiya village council, expressed the following to the Land Research Center (LRC)’s field researcher: As Sawiya schools are all located at the by-pass Road 60 and they are considered to be the main symbols of the village. Hundreds of students graduated from these schools and are currently participating in the building of their community as well as other communities worldwide. These schools have become a target of Israeli colonists’ attacks for a long time. Such attacks have left a number of the students permanently handicapped after being subjected to vehicular run overs, physical attacks and even being shot at by the colonists. Last year, As Sawiya Girls High School (the same school that was attacked today) was attacked as a group of colonists forced their way into the playground and opened indiscriminate fire towards the classrooms. They have also vandalized school property in the courtyard before withdrawing. To the south of the village there are two schools; As Sawiya Boys School and Al Lubban Al Sharqiya High School. Despite the bad shape the schools are in, colonists have made it a habit to barge into these schools during the years of the Intifada and to open fire towards the students in an attempt to terrorize them and to force them not to attend school. Yet, the students continued their education despite all of the surrounding dangers and the conspiracies of the colonists.
As Sawiay Village: General Information
The village is located 20 kilometers south of the city of Nablus. Its built-up area is about 340 dunums. In 1967 the area was only 50 dunums which was expanded to the current area in the year 1993. Since then, Israeli occupation forces have been refusing to expand the area despite the legitimate reason to do so as the current built-up area does not meet the natural growth of its Palestinian residents. The overall area of the village is about 11,380 dunums which is surrounded by the villages of Lubban Al Sharqiyya, Qaruit, Talfit, Qabalan, Yasuf and Iskaka. There are 3,000 dunums of its lands that are planted with olive trees vegetables and barley.
Israeli occupation authorities have also targeted As Sawiya as there are currently more than 65 houses and agricultural structures under the threat of being demolished after these authorities issued Stop Work Orders against them.
The population of the village was 829 in the year 1967. In 1987, the number grew to become 1,600 while in 2005 the population reached 2,500.
There are 3 khirbets associated with the village including As Sawiya (located east of the village), Al Barqit (located northeast of the village) and Kammoniyya (located between the village Al Yasuf and As Sawiya).
In terms of colonial activity, about 32% of the lands of the village are under the control of nearby colonies including the colony of Rahaleim (located north of the village) and Eli (located east of the village).
Eli Colony: An Overview
Photos 4+5: The colony of Eli
The colony was established in 1984 on Ali Mountain. Since its establishment the colony has expanded multiple times as is the case today as additional mobile caravans has been added lately to the colony. Currently the colony rests atop 7 hilltops surrounding the villages of Qaruit, Talfit, As Sawiya and Al Lubban Al Sharqiya. It has a religious college, a tourist hotel in addition to a cemetery. In the year 2005, its population reached 2420 colonists living on 776 dunums of builtup area. Its municipal area is 2430 dunums. Source: Foundation for Middle East Peace.