Behind The Wall
Dr Hala El-Yamini of the University of Bethlehem, recently attended a teacher education conference in Stirling, which included an EIS sponsored seminar in Edinburgh (see p4). Here, writing exclusively for the SEJ, she explains how the wall constructed by Israel in the West Bank continues to disenfranchise Palestinian youth by destroying educational aspirations and attainment. But, Dr El Yamani argues, even more damaging than the physical wall itself are the psychological barriers that come with living in a divided society where opportunities are often strictly limited and controlled by military and political force. “Palestinian education and propaganda are more dangerous to Israel than Palestinian weapons” (Ariel Sharon, Ha’aretz, 19/11/2004)
ducation is not a separate process isolated or detached from society or what is going on in the society. Mr. Sharon was a shrewd politician when he acknowledged in his statement that Palestinian education was a danger to Israel, as it shapes the citizen to be responsible, active, confident, conscious and aware of everything going around him.
Photo: Carles Surià Albà
Evidence in research and human rights documentation indicates that education in Palestine has been targeted by the Israeli occupier. Since they occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem they have worked ceaselessly and ruthlessly in creating all sorts of obstacles in the way of Palestinians to stop their development and progress. This is a major factor towards creating ignorant and uneducated citizens.
8 Scottish Educational Journal October 07
This policy was obvious in the first Intifada in 1987 until 1991. Kindergartens, schools, universities and educational institutions were closed for long periods, sometimes over six months in a year. The military authorities continued to maintain that these closures were necessary for the maintenance of “security and public order” in the Occupied Territories. This policy has left clear marks on the society, making it regress. When allowed, students went to school, but they were not learning, since they were in a very bad psychological state. The generation of that Intifada have now become the teachers of the current generation. Yet it has become clear to the faculty of education at Bethlehem
SEJ October 2007