‘They’re coming for us all’: Israel’s assault on Gaza’s education

Published November 7, 2023
Palestinian children run as they flee from Israeli bombardment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on November 6, 2023. — AFP
Palestinian children run as they flee from Israeli bombardment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on November 6, 2023. — AFP

With ethnic cleansing in full swing, Israel has targeted educational institutes in Gaza as 11 out of 14 universities are completely destroyed.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organisation in the United States, has asserted that the Israeli government, with a far-right orientation, has caused significant damage to Al-Azhar University in Gaza.

This incident is seen as another instance of civilian casualties in a refugee camp and a fatal bombing of a UN facility that shelters refugees. These events serve as additional evidence for the international community to take action to address what CAIR characterises as a “genocidal campaign” against the Palestinian population by Israel.

A freelance photojournalist named Motaz Azaiza, hailing from Gaza, shared images depicting the aftermath of the destruction of Al-Azhar University. In his emotional response, he expressed deep sorrow for the loss of his educational institute.

“They’re coming for us all. They’re destroying our educational institutes that are our assets. I have lived the best days of my life here and now it is all gone in just matter of minutes,” he wrote in an Instagram story.

Ahmed Alnaouq, a Palestinian journalist based in London, shared the videos of an air strike on Al-Azhar University, expressing his sorrow over losing the place he learned everything from.

“Introducing Al-Azhar University in Gaza, where I had my first degree in English Literature,” he wrote on his X, formerly Twitter account with a video where the university went up in the ashes.

In an added tweet, he also shared that the campus Israel bombed was newly built which is now completely destroyed.

“Colonialism and genocide are always accompanied by epistemicide. This is the video and evidence of Israel’s bombing of Al-Azhar University — Gaza. I can only imagine how much knowledge and history was immediately lost,” an X user wrote in the comments.

“All 11 Universities in Gaza have been bombed by Israel. This number surpassed 10 when Israel targeted and bombed Al-Azhar University. In total, 19 higher education orgs have suspended educational processes in Gaza depriving 88,000+ students their right to education,” The Guardian reported.

Plestia, another journalist from Gaza spoke about the barbaric acts of Israel and expressed her grief over losing her educational institute.

“They have bombed hospitals, houses, nurseries, shops and now universities. They are coming for all of us, making sure none of us survives and if we do, we lose everything that is necessary to build a life,” she wrote on Instagram with horrifying images of UN schools in shambles and remains of universities.

Published in Dawn, November 7th, 2023

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