Most Palestinians live in tents or shacks. The people of Fasayil, with help from the Brighton-Tubas Friendship and Solidarity group (www.brightonpalestine.org), decided to begin building a school in defiance of the military orders. The original building was built from mud bricks to minimise costs in case the Israelis came to destroy it. Volunteers from Brighton travelled to Palestine to help with the building.
In November the villagers received an injunction stating that the Civil Military authorities intended to apply for a demolition order for the partially built school and that any further building would be illegal. Villagers remained defiant saying "They can knock our school down as often as they want. We cannot stop them from doing so. We will build the school again and again and again. They cannot destroy our determination to give proper education to our children."
An international petition, translated into five languages, was launched against the demolition gathering tens of thousands of signatures. The school became an international issue; letters were written to the Israeli Civil Miltary Administration and to foreign governments, demonstrations were held in several countries. In an interview with 'The Independent' Zidki Maman of the Civil Military Administration was forced to admit that the army would consider "humanitarian concerns" before demolishing the school.
The building work continued, the villagers now building a stone building in their village for the first time in decades.
One year on the school has been completed and the Palestinian Ministry of Education, who had been powerless to provide education for the people of Fasayil because of the Israeli military restrictions, are planning to send a teacher next year. However, more importantly the pressure placed on the Civil Military Administration has meant that the issue of Fasayil has been brought up in negotiations and Upper Fasayil has been designated as an area where Palestinians are entitled to build.
The story of Fasayil has been one of success. However, the majority of Palestinians in the valley still do not have the right to build on their own land and many communities face creeping ethnic cleansing through the Israeli policies of pushing Palestinians out of all but a few tiny enclaves. A popular Palestinian phrase to describe the situation is 'To exist' in occupied Palestine '...Is to Resist.
For more details or for interviews with people in Fasayil contact Tom or Sarahtel.Email - email@example.com, tel. 07846569836
Photos of the completed Fasayil School - http://brightonpalestine.org/blog/?p=279#more-279
Photos of the building of Fasayil School at http://charity.dc5b.com/fsp/
Petition Against the Demolition - http://brightonpalestine.org/blog/?page_id=224
Campaign Pack - Stop the Demolition of Fasayil School - http://brightonpalestine.org/blog/?p=233
Notes for Journalists:
The Brighton-Tubas Friendship and Solidarity Group was set up in 2006 and is a network aimed at fostering links between community groups in Tubas and the Jordan Valley in Palestine and Brighton in England.Since 1967
Palestinians in the Jordan Valley area of the West Bank have had 95% of their land and 98% of their water confiscated by the Israeli military and settlements. It is the stated intention of the Israeli administration to annex the West Bank, and they are ethnically cleansing the area in preparation for this.
For background information about Brighton Tubas Friendship and Solidarity Group and our work in the Tubas and Jordan Valley region of the West Bank see our website at http://tubas.brightonpalestine.org/For more background information about the Jordan Valley project see www.jordanvalleysolidarity.org