Israel to auction prefab classrooms donated by EU to Palestinians

Calls for Israeli authorities to rebuild West Bank structures confiscated by military

Israel’s defence ministry plans to hold an auction next week to sell two prefabricated classrooms that were donated to Palestinian schoolchildren by the EU.

The Civil Administration, the body tasked with running the occupation, tore down and confiscated the classrooms last October. They had been intended for 49 students, in grades one to six, in Ibziq, in the northern occupied West Bank.

An advertisement published in the Israeli newspaper Maariv said the sale would take place at Civil Administration offices in the West Bank.

After the classrooms were dismantled, the EU mission to Jerusalem and Ramallah condemned Israeli authorities and called on them to rebuild the structures in the same place “without delay”.

“Every child has the right to access education and states have an obligation to protect, respect and fulfil this right, by ensuring that schools are inviolable safe spaces for children,” it said at the time.

“[T]he EU calls upon the Israeli authorities to halt demolitions and confiscations of Palestinian houses and property, in accordance with its obligations as an occupying power under international humanitarian law.”

A list of auction items, seen by the Guardian, showed dates, item numbers, locations and descriptions that matched the confiscated classroom structures. The sale also appeared to include material confiscated from Palestinians and Israeli settlers who built without authorisation.

Asked to comment on Thursday afternoon, the Civil Administration said it needed more time to respond.

Palestinians have limited autonomy in parts of the West Bank, mostly urban areas, but Israel maintains full control of most of the territory and demolishes homes and buildings it says were built without permission.

More than 400,000 Israelis have moved into the West Bank, building settlements on land seized from Palestinians. The prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has pledged to annex those settlements.