The Palestinian Ministry of Education said in a statement on Saturday that Israeli authorities have been impeding entry of 300,000 textbooks from the occupied West Bank into the blockaded Gaza Strip, jeopardizing the new school year in the coastal enclave that is set to begin on Sunday, According to Palestinian local agencies.
The ministry approved a new curriculum for grades 1-4 and distributed the new textbooks to all schools in the occupied West Bank, while most textbooks for Gaza were printed in presses located in the Gaza Strip itself.
However, 30,000 Math and Science textbooks bound for Gaza were printed in the West Bank, “which Israel has so far denied entry to the Gaza strip,” Salih said.
He said that the ministry arranged the shipment of the 300,000 textbooks with the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).
Salih added that Palestinian Authority official institutions and human rights groups should do their best to secure the entry of textbooks to the Gaza Strip.
In response to a request for comment, Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) denied the accusation, saying that Israeli authorities had only received the request from the Palestinian side on Tuesday and had still not responded to the request.
The Gaza Strip has suffered under an Israeli military blockade since 2007, when Hamas became the de facto ruling party in the territory.
Residents of Gaza suffer from high unemployment and poverty rates, as well as the consequences of three devastating wars with Israel since 2008.
Friday marked two years since the 2014 Gaza war, when at least 1,400 Palestinian civilians were killed — 60 percent of whom were women and children — and some 100,000 more made homeless during the devastating Israeli offensive.
Seven schools were completely destroyed, one of which has been repaired, while 252 were damaged by conflict — all of which have been completely repaired, according to the United Nations.
Residents have continued to experience trauma in their daily lives following the 2014 Israeli offensive, as reconstruction efforts have been painfully slow, with some 75,000 Palestinians still displaced after losing their homes in 2014.