Between 10 and 21 May 10 last year, a staggering 290 education facilities were damaged or destroyed in Palestine.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) thanked Qatar for its support and dedication of the right to education for Palestinians and others from conflict areas, on the occasion of ‘International Day to Protect Education from Attack’.
“Qatar has been instrumental in shining a light on the impact of hostilities on education,” it said in tweet on Friday.
Doha’s forefront position in providing major contribution to help the indigenous people of Palestine has always been recognised in various sectors, including reconstruction, humanitarian aid and education.
The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Public Works and Housing in Gaza Naji Sarhan said Qatar is placed at the forefront of countries that have provided a major contribution to help rebuild Gaza after the Israeli aggression in 2021, with a grant estimated at $500 million.
Qatar backs right to education for Palestinians
The UN General Assembly declared 9 September as the International Day to Protect Education from Attack and adopted a resolution on the right to safe education for all.
The resolution was introduced by Qatar and co-sponsored by 62 states.
On Friday, Sheikha Moza bint Nasser delivered a powerful speech in France to mark the UN day, in which she slammed global double standards to in ensuring equal access to education in conflict-ridden zones and among children in disadvantaged communities.
“I have wondered if conflict in the global north would push those in power to understand the reality that is faced by real people in war zones. Would it make them empathise? Would it force them to act?” said Sheikha Moza.
The Qatari royal noted that 2020 saw a one third increase in the number of attacks on education in comparison to 2019, a figure that has remained high in 2021.
“All indications suggest that in 2022 they’ll continue to rise. Yemen, Ukraine, Palestine, Somalia, Ethiopia, Nigerian—in countries too many to list,” said Sheikha Moza.
She added that with the war occurring in Europe itself, there has been action in ensuring the protection of children and their access to education.
“While the world has leaped to provide for some refugees elsewhere, the children of conflict are unseen and ignored. Education is the very weapon these children can use to overcome the challenges they face,” said Sheikha Moza.
Commenting on the double standards approach by the international community in protecting global access to education, Sheikha Moza stressed that “no child is more worthy than any other.”
During the years of 2020 and 2021, the International Day was commemorated by a high-level event bringing together global leaders on education, peace, and conflict, including the Secretary General of the UN.
Qatar Fund For Development (QFFD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding in late 2020 with Palestine’s Ministry of Education to provide Palestinian children in refugee camps with education.
The MoU aimed at contributing to Education Above All (EAA) Foundation’s efforts to support Palestinian refugee students under UNRWA’s schools in the Besieged Gaza, the West Bank and Syria.
In late 2021, QFFD renewed a $3 million grant agreement with the Institute for Palestine Studies Project (IPS) to further inform the Arab and international community about the realities of the Palestinian cause.
Sheikha Moza bint Nasser and her foundation, Education Above All (EAA), have always vowed to support and proceed with educational projects in Palestine amid continued Israeli attacks.
The Qatar-based foundation, which has a team of networks on the ground in Palestine, has continuously engaged with school children despite the bombardments by the Zionist regime.
As of 31 December 2021, Qatar’s fund to UNRWA’s programme and non-programme budget stood at a total of $17,000,000 and held an overall donor ranking of 15 out of 122 countries.
Attack on education
In the years 2020 and 2021, the highest incidences of attacks on education schools were in Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, and Palestine, totalling over 400 attacks.
Numerous schools have been threatened, bombed, torched, looted, or the targets of other violent actions in each of the countries.
During the 11-day Israeli offensive on Gaza in May 2021, where at least 260 Palestinians including 66 children were killed by the Zionist state’s attacks. Strikes against Gaza’s educational establishments caused more than 190 to be damaged.
In one such instance, an airstrike in Gaza destroyed 29 classrooms and the compound wall of two UNRWA schools, and over 50 schools in the West Bank were subjected to attacks such as stop-work orders and demolition orders, among other things.
Between 10 and 21 May 10 last year, a significant number of 290 education facilities were damaged or destroyed by the occupying regime in Palestine.