A visit with the founder of the school in Zenuta

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Mira B. (reporting) and Muhammad; Translator: Natanya
Independence Day. And Ramadan too. Our initial intention was to stop at the school in Zenuta, to talk to Fatma, the principal, about the counseling she and Yasmin give to the staff of Huda kindergarten, and then go on to kindergarten. But it turned out that following a problem with the car, Fatma is not at school, and because of Ramadan, the kindergarten children come home early. So we went to visit and talk to Fatma at her home in Idna.

We arrived through the Tarqumiya checkpoint. I have not  passed through here for a long time. I still remember this checkpoint 12 years ago, when it was not built and maintained by the army. Now the checkpoint looks like a threatening border station, and they tell me that the behavior here is very hard  and humiliating.

Fatma's house is located on the outskirts of Idna, overlooking the orchards and the separation fence (close to the Beit Awwa, which the separation fence has been built in her area with no shame - we were here 10 years ago when the fence was built, and the residents hoped to cancel  the decree, of course). The house is beautiful and gleaming with cleanliness.

Fatma, a young, educated and energetic woman, speaks fluent English and has four children. Very clear in the transmission of her messages. We asked to hear the story of the school in Zenuta. Fatma was a teacher, took a management course of  the Palestinian Authority, and accepted a proposal to run the school in Zenuta, which the Palestinians consider an Etgar schools, since they are not approved by the Civil Administration of Israel in Area C. Fatma was excited by the challenge of setting up a school in the village on Route 317, which is an area in the southern Hebron hills of outposts which are meant to dispossess the local residents of the area and push them out.

The school was established on March 12.  Less than a month after its establishment, on April 9, 2008, at night the school was destroyed by the Israeli army. All the new equipment was taken. The grief was great , and many people wanted to help. They set up tents, but that too was taken by the army. Fatma established an "office for re-planning" at her home in Idna. For four months, she  built a plan to rebuild within 24 hours: a "Palestinian wall and tower". The  day was set for 24.8.2018. It was the Friday before Eid al Adha. The consideration was that because of the combination of the Sabbath and the Muslim holidays, there would be a few soldiers in the area. This is especially critical, since the structures of the Meitarim Regional Council are directly overlooking Zenuta. So the hope was that on a Shabbat like this, everyone was praying. Fatma says, with a little laugh, that they were influenced by the Yom Kippur War, which opened on a day when there is less vigilance and military activity.

The rebuilding activity began at night, with about 35 volunteers, most of them from Idna. They  brought  the necessary materials. Fatma drove the workers in her little car back and forth. Twenty-four hours later, the school building, with a tin roof, which was to be replaced by a solid roof. There is documentation of the "heroic" construction process, hour after hour. Now there is a trial going on against the school.

After we calmed down from  the moving description, we also talked about the topic for which we came, the horticultural guidance of Huda kindergarten, and the overall promotion of the garden. We also raised the possibility of reciprocal visits.