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East Jerusalem’s Education System: A Bird’s-Eye View

A graphic showing the division of responsibilities for education in East Jerusalem


Jerusalem Story Team

For reasons due to its unique history, extending back to the British Mandate days and the 19-year period of divided rule that followed from 1948 to 1967, and most importantly because the status of Jerusalem in international law is undecided and contested, the education system for Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the side of the city that Israel occupied in 1967, is very fragmented and dysfunctional. As this graphic shows, there is no single supervisory body responsible for centralizing policy, curricula, funding, or anything else. In fact, there are four different entities that control different aspects of education.

From the Israeli vantage point, the Palestinian government bodies are considered illegal outlaws whose involvement should be invisibilized and eventually, by any means possible, terminated.

From the Palestinian vantage point, the education of Palestinian children in Jerusalem is a critically important function insofar as it shapes their self-identification as Palestinians who can appreciate and understand their people’s long, proud history in the city. 

The dysfunction at the system level produces terrible experiences for children, such as having their schools demolished, their classrooms raided, and even their backpacks searched by police and their textbooks confiscated.