Bethlehem school appeals against demolishing its cafeteria, and an opening and for the Wall

BETHLEHEM (18 December 2006) (WAFA) - HOPE FLOWERS SCHOOL in Bethlehem called of pressuring the Israelis to overturn the demolition order of its cafeteria and to create a gate in the Apartheid Wall to allow Israelis to reach the school.

It appealed in a press released to all peoples to apply pressure to a list of contacts, including high ranking international and Israeli officials, by letter, fax, e-mail or phone and ask them not to tear down the cafeteria of its school for the sake of the Wall.

It also called for emphasizing the unique operating principles and ethos of the Hope Flowers School, the only school in the West Bank and Gaza areas focusing on peace and democracy education and teaching the students to look for non-violent solutions to the ongoing situation.

In 2003, the Hope Flowers School received a demolition order for the school cafeteria, because the cafeteria is located 120 meters away from the proposed route of the Wall.

Now the Israeli authorities have started to build the last segment of the wall near the school. Bulldozers and stone crushing machines are working daily to crush thousands of years of beautiful rocks at the front of the school in preparation for either laying the 8 meters high cement wall segments or to build a fence.

The proposed route of the Wall will isolate the Hope Flowers School and will not allow Israelis to come to visit the school. The school has been well known for many years as a home for peace education in the Middle East.

"We encourage peace and coexistence based on our belief that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict cannot be solved in a violent way," said a press release by the School. "With our joint programs we create an opportunity for dialogue and understanding."

"The problem is that, when the wall is built, Israelis and Palestinians will not be able to meet each other anymore," it added. "The Hope Flowers School will not be accessible to Israelis. This means more fear and more stereotyping of 'the other', which would end any chance for creating peace and dialogue."

The School said the wall is not only physical: "it will be a barrier in the minds and hearts of future Palestinian and Israeli generations, preventing them from living together. The wall will not bring peace. It may bring a cease-fire, but a cease-fire is never peace."

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