The IDF Civil Administration in the territories early Sunday morning demolished an illegal school set up by the Palestinian Authority at the foot of the ancient Herodion fortress in Judea. The building had been declared dilapidated and dangerous, and the Jerusalem District Court had ordered its demolition.
The school was established and operated with international funding, and the activity there continued even despite a work-stop order issued as early as 2017. After the initial demolition ruling had been published, the UN came out against it, claiming it was a violation of Arab children’s access to education.
The Civil Administration crew arrived at the site of the school around 4 AM Sunday and demolished the building, which was so dilapidated, it practically collapsed by itself in a few minutes.
The Herodion, a.k.a. Mount Herod, is an archaeological site dating to the end of the Second Temple period, and today a national park managed by the Nature and Parks Authority, located about 12 kilometers south of Jerusalem in the Judean Desert. Herodion fortress, complete with a pool of water and a spacious palace, was built by King Herod between 22 and 15 BCE. The historian Josephus claimed that Herod was buried at the site in a magnificent ceremony, and, indeed, his grave was discovered in 2007 by archaeologist Ehud Netzer.
The site is located in Area C, which is under complete Israeli control according to the Oslo agreement, near an army base.