Israel Lifts Ban on Delivery of 300,000 School Textbooks to Gaza

Israel lifted Tuesday a ban on delivery of 300,000 school textbooks intended for Gaza, according to Azzam Abu Baker, an official in the Ministry Education.

The schoolyear started on Sunday in West Bank and Gaza and attempts by the Ministry of Education to deliver textbooks to Gaza were obstructed by Israel.

Baker said in a press release that major efforts were exerted around the clock by the education ministry, the civil affairs department and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) which led to Israel lifting the ban and allowing entry of the textbooks to Gaza.

The ministry said on Sunday that math and science textbooks were still awaiting Israeli approval, which meant that half a million students in the Gaza Strip will begin the school year without textbooks.

While most of the books were printed in Gaza, math books for grades 2 to 4 and science books for grades 3 and 4 were printed in the West Bank.

UNRWA trucks delivered the textbooks on Tuesday morning from the printers in the West Bank and are expected to be distributed among schools in the evening.

An Israeli official told Israeli media the delay was due to the need to examine and approve books first by Israel, before being allowed into Gaza.

Some 1.2 million Palestinian students began school on Sunday. About 650,000 of them are in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the Education Ministry said.

Sixty five percent of the Gaza Strip's students are enrolled in 245 UNRWA schools, while some 55,000 students go to 95 UN schools in the West Bank. The rest attend state schools, the ministry said.

Source: WAFA