Monday, March 29, 2004

Peace School in Palestine threatened with demolition

Hope Flowers Peace School is the only school in Israel and the Palestinian Territories where Muslims, Jews, and Christians study Hebrew and Arabic together.

On 29th March 2004, Ibrahim Issa wrote:


Special Newsletter to Friends of the School and of Middle East

Dear Friends.
Warm greetings from Bethlehem at this time of continued
uncertainty at the Hope Flowers School.

Once again, we find ourselves faced with yet another demolition
threat, as we did in our last newsletter to you, dated 14th
February 2004. Despite your efforts and the efforts of US
Secretary of State Assistant Mr. William Burns in his
consultation with the Israeli authorities, we have still
received no confirmation from the Israeli authorities that the
demolition threat relating to the school cafeteria will be

Once again, we ask for your assistance.

At this time, the school cafeteria building does not have a
building permit. This is due to two reasons. Firstly, in
reality, the Israeli authorities do not issue building permits
to Palestinians in this area. However, we fully intend to
proceed with the application process as we did in 1999 and we
are currently trying to find out how best to do this. Secondly,
we simply could not afford an Israeli building permit in 1999.
The cost charged to Palestinians for such a permit is
exorbitant. Can you please apply pressure to the contacts below
through letter, fax, e mail or phone. Ask them to do whatever
they can to overturn the demolition order, to provide the
school with documented confirmation of this, and consequently
allow us to proceed with the formal application process.
Emphasize to them the unique operating principles and ethos of
the Hope Flowers School in that we are the only school in the
Palestinian West Bank and Gaza areas to focus on peace and
democracy education, teaching our students to look for a non
violent solution to the ongoing situation.

a) Commander Israeli Civil Administration (Sub Committee for
Supervision of Building Activity in Beth El)
fax (Israel) 2 997 7326

b) Mr. Aril Sharon, Israeli Prime Minister:
e-mail: webmaster@pmo.gov.il
fax (Israel) 2 566 4838 or (Israel) 2 267 5475

c) The Israeli Embassy / Consulate in your home country.

d) Mr. Colin L. Powell, U.S Secretary of State:
address: U.S Department of State, 2210 C Street N.W,
Washington D.C 20520, USA. tel: (USA) 202 647 4000
e mail: go to
l then type in your message, then “send”.

Also, if you can draw attention to this situation in your local
and wider communities, through various methods, therefore
resulting in greater awareness of our situation, it would
further help the cause.

We are also in need of financial assistance to apply for the
required Israeli building permission (which is several times
more expensive that the Palestinian building permit that we
already have). Again, any assistance in this area would be
greatly appreciated. Donations in the USA can be sent to:
Chase Manhattan Bank - New York (Correspondent Bank), A/C Arab
Jordan Investment Bank, Amman – Jordan (Correspondent Bank),
Chips ID 136008, SWIFT AJIBJOAX, A/C Palestine Investment Bank
(Beneficiary Bank) For Further Credit of "the Hope Flowers
School", A/C NO. 73535, Bethlehem Branch 76-411, Palestine. Or
(tax deductible) to the Orange County Peace Fund at the
following address: Orange County Middle East Peace Fund, P.O.
Box 5891, Orange, California 92863 – 5891, USA Donations in
Europe can be sent to:
Deutsche Bank Ag, Frankfurt – Germany (Correspondent Bank), A/C
Arab Jordan Investment Bank, Amman – Jordan (Correspondent
Bank), Chips ID 136008, SWIFT AJIBJOAX , A/C Palestine
Investment Bank(Beneficiary Bank), For Further Credit of "the
Hope Flowers School", A/C NO. 73535, Bethlehem Branch 76-411,
Palestine Donations can also be sent directly to the school's
address (registered mail) at: The Hope Flowers School,
Bethlehem, P.O. Box 732, West Bank. Via Israel Below, we have
outlined some background information that may help in your
understanding of the overall situation here. If you require any
further details please don’t hesitate to contact us at the
school. We will keep you informed about our progress. In the
meantime, thank you for all of your assistance and support. We
are feeling the connections with you and grateful for them at
this time. All the best wishes to you.

Ibrahim Issa

Some background information:

Most of you may well know that the school is in the part of the
West Bank still designated as Area C, where there is exclusive
Israeli control and administration of most aspects of organized
life. The categories of Areas A, B and C, which came into
existence with the Oslo Accords, resulted in Areas A being
designated as areas under full Palestinian control whilst Areas
B came under joint Israeli and Palestinian control. Because the
school area has been traditionally Palestinian for generations,
and because it is within 2 kilometers of portions of Area B and
Area A, it had seemed likely that this area would be
reclassified as an Area A. However, as a result of the latest
Intifada, and other factors, this has not happened, and we
remain fully under the control of the Israeli military and
civil authorities. This directly affects the school buildings
in the following way: Although all of the school buildings have
Palestinian building permits, the permits are not recognized by
the Israeli authorities. As we are in an Area C, we need to be
in possession of an Israeli building permit. In1999, when we
were issued with a demolition notification, the Hope Flowers
School was in the same predicament. After submitting reports,
attending meetings of the Civil Administration (the Israeli
body that administers the Occupied Palestinian Territories),
attending the hearing of our case in an Israeli military court,
and continuous international pressure, the order to demolish
was rescinded. We applied in 1999 for an Israeli building
permit and were successful in our application. However, the fee
that the Israeli Authorities were charging for the issue and
validation of the permit was deliberately beyond the financial
capabilities of the school, hence we were unable to proceed and
obtain the permit.
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