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Schools shut for 500,000 Gaza students as Israeli bombing continues
Published Saturday 23/08/2014 (updated) 25/08/2014 11:15
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Displaced Palestinians attend the morning Eid al-Fitr prayer at an
United Nations school in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip on July 28,
2014 (AFP/File Mohammed Abed)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Half a million schoolchildren in the Gaza Strip will be unable to start the fall semester this week as the coastal enclave reels from the effects of an ongoing Israeli assault that has damaged at least 277 schools so far.

Although schools were scheduled to open on Saturday, nearly one-third are still being used shelters for some of the 485,000 Gazans displaced by Israeli bombardment, including 100,000 who have been left homeless.

Palestinian Minister of Education Khawla al-Shakhshir told Ma'an on Friday that the although the new school year will begin on Sunday for 700,000 students in the West Bank, it has been "delayed until further notice" in Gaza.

The Deputy Minister of Education in Gaza Ziad Thabet told a Ma'an reporter that re-opening schools in Gaza depends on "evacuating schools that are used as shelters, providing other places for displaced families and preparing schools to receive students."

Thabet said that of the 141 government schools damaged in the assault, 22 of them were severely damaged while other schools merely required clean-up.

Thabet added that preparing schools to receive students would "technically need two weeks," but that the schedule was dependent on an end to the Israeli bombardment, which had killed more than 70 and injured hundreds in the previous four days alone.

He said that the ministry had coordinated with several local and international institutions to help repair and organize schools and provide the school year necessities, adding that the schools were also preparing to provide extensive psychological support programs for students.

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated on Thursday that 373,000 children will need direct and specialized psychological counseling after the end of the assault, while all students would require some form of psychological assistance.

Of the more than 3,000 children who have been injured in the assault, meanwhile, UNOCHA said that around 1,000 would suffer from a life-long disability, in addition to the estimated 1,500 who had been orphaned.
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1 ) Mel / USA
23/08/2014 17:02
Don't let Israel win,by sabotaging education,this semester too.RESIST AGAIN,by demanding your INALIENABLE RIGHT TO EDUCATION.
The floor is your classroom if need by.Your parents,elders,teachers are still your educators.Hold classes still,under the trees.Set your own math problems,essay Q&a's,science projects(use the rubble),language classes etc.And BOMBARD the White House with TWEETS for a lifetime supply of school supplies(free)since USG's BFF"ZionistState"(ZS)just"beheaded"your right 2 LEARN!

2 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
23/08/2014 20:55
Real easy solution: Hamas declares that it will meet the three conditions imposed by the international community and joins the peace process. To go to school in safety, all we need from Gaza is for Hamas to order an end to its illegal firing of rockets at Israeli towns and cities (which is indeed a war crime) where of course Israeli students won't be going back to school either, despite what the minister of education says.

3 ) Talib / Palestine
24/08/2014 18:38
@1 Well said Mel, have you seen the latest rubble bucket challenge for Gaza (instead of ice you put rubble in the bucket). Much of the world now supports Gaza & the resistance @2 Brian's comment is a bit deja vu, reminiscent of the unity gov talks, after which Bibi threw his toys out of the pram. Gazans want peace & support the resistance to get it for them, which they will! All kids can go safely to school, when talks & halting fire, produce an end to the siege & later 67 borders. Shalom/Salem.

4 ) Maureen / Australia
24/08/2014 20:48
#2 Cohen "Real easy solution." What solution do really mean - Israel's continued massacres of Palestinian people. The final solution, eh Cohen, annhialation of the rightful owners of the land of Palestine... Israel's military junta's 'precision bombs' targeting women, children, elderly. So Hitlerian, is Israel!

5 ) Jeff / USA
25/08/2014 02:12
Brian Cohen, you know that is a bunch of BS you are spouting. Israel said the same stuff about getting rid of Yasser Arafat. Well, once he was gone, Israel did not pursue "peace". They intensified their stealing of land, settlement building and all levels of war crimes. he fascist Zionists will not stop until they have driven out all Arabs and taken over all of historic Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Israel...the biggest anti-democracy and racist state in the world!

6 ) Kafantaris / USA
26/08/2014 13:13
Since the bombing of Gaza is just fine by those who count here in the United States, Israel sees no reason to stop. But as Assad galvanized the extreme elements in the Middle East, so might Israel -- besides it too knocking the United Nations further into irrelevancy. The fact that the rest of the world sees Israel much differently than we do should give us pause -- and maybe enough to ask why we've been caring this Israel stone in our shoe so long. It might be high time we stopped, take off t
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