World Vision Condemns Attack on West Bank Girls School

A girls school in northern West Bank was found damaged by fire and vandalized Wednesday with Hebrew graffiti reading "regards from the hills."

Palestinians have accused Jewish settlers for the attack as they live on hilly outposts nearby. Extremists from the group have been targeting their Muslim neighbors in response to efforts by the Israeli government to remove unauthorized settlements or restrict settlement construction.

While Israeli police are investigating, World Vision, which has ties to the school, released a statement condemning the attack on the Essawieh Girls Secondary School in Nablus. It said the attack – which is not the first – "contributes to a sense of fear and uncertainty for the girls in an environment where they should feel secure and be free to learn."

The Christian humanitarian group is particularly concerned about the inflammatory overtones of the attack, which included intimidating slogans spray-painted in Hebrew over the door, and the fact that the attack targeted a children's institution.

"World Vision believes that all children – be they Palestinian or Israeli – have the right to live and grow up in safety, free from violence and fear and that both Palestinian and Israeli children suffer because of violence or the threat of violence," it stated Wednesday.

Furthermore, the organization said it believes that the occupation "has negative spiritual and psychological effects on Israelis and Palestinians."

"We stand in solidarity with the poor and oppressed in a common search for justice, seeking to understand their situation under occupation and working alongside them towards fullness of life," World Vision concluded.

According to the group, Essawieh Girls Secondary School is part of its community project in South Nablus. There are 1,700 children from South Nablus registered in World Vision's projects, 80 of whom attend the school.

Tuesday night's attack reportedly damaged a storehouse and destroyed sports equipment the organization had donated to the school.

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