In a letter that was reportedly left at the site, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed “militia” of P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction, claimed responsibility for the shooting.
“We will cripple with an iron first anyone who helps establish the school,” wrote the U.S.-designated terrorist group, claiming that the Israeli curriculum “falsifies and targets the ancient and contemporary history of Palestine.”
The targeted school is one of four new educational institutions in Kafr Aqab that are funded by the Jerusalem Municipality and will prepare students for an Israeli bagrut (high school matriculation) diploma. The school was supposed to open later this week.
Of roughly 110,000 Arab students in eastern Jerusalem, 85% follow the Palestinian Authority curriculum, Lech Yerushalayim, a non-governmental organization that focuses on Jerusalem-related issues, told the Tazpit Press Service in February.
“The Palestinian Authority, which is frankly the enemy of Israel, pushes the Palestinian narrative. Israel tries to fight this through a type of censorship, but it’s not succeeding within the schools,” Lech Yerushalayim Chairman Maor Tzemach said at the time.
Kafr Aqab is within the Israel capital’s municipal boundaries on the northern edge. However, it is situated outside the security barrier and security forces rarely enter the neighbourhood. Most of Kafr Aqab’s residents have Israeli residency status, allowing free movement within the country and access to Israeli social benefits.
An estimated 150,000 Palestinians with Israeli residency permits are believed to live in areas of municipal Jerusalem beyond the security barrier.