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In 'Shockingly Cruel' Move, Israel to Auction Off Classrooms It Dismantled in West Bank

"Less the action of a government that has lost its moral compass. More of one that has dashed that compass to the ground and is now grinding it underfoot."

Palestinian women look on and react as Jerusalem municipality workers demolish a residential building in an East Jerusalem neighborhood on October 29, 2013.

Palestinian women look on and react as Jerusalem municipality workers demolish a residential building in an East Jerusalem neighborhood on October 29, 2013. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Getty Images)

Israel is auctioning off classrooms it seized from the occupied West Bank last year, a move that one Palestinian advocate called "truly appalling."

The Guardian reported Friday on the auction, expected to be held in the next two weeks.

"This is so shockingly cruel and brazenly defiant in the face of international law," said James Zogby, founder of the Arab American Institute. "Profiting off of the theft of classrooms and denying Palestinian children a roof over their heads."

The Israeli Civil Administration, the governmental body in charge of policy in the occupied territories, dismantled the schools in October. The classrooms were set to be used to educate 49 schoolchildren in the West Bank and were a donation from the European Union Representative to the Palestinian Territories. 

"The E.U. missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah call on the Israeli authorities to rebuild the school structures in the same place without delay," the representative said in a statement at the time. 

Critics saw that call to action as relatively toothless and indicative of the mission's broader empty morality, a point stressed by Electronic Intifada founder Ali Abunimah in February.

"Here's how it works," tweeted Abunimah. "@EUinIsrael and other #EuroHypocrites governments pay for the schools. Israel demolishes them. EU rewards Israel for its crimes. Repeat as nauseum."

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The Civil Administration did not follow the E.U. mission's advice and rebuild the classrooms. Rather, the agency saw the opportunity to sell the materials confiscated from Palestinian children. 

Per The Guardian:

A list of auction items, seen by the Guardian, showed dates, item numbers, locations and descriptions that matched the confiscated classroom structures. The sale also appeared to include material confiscated from Palestinians and Israeli settlers who built without authorization.

Criticism from observers on social media pointed to the latest assault on Palestinians as refelctive of the immorality of the occupation. 

"Less the action of a Government that has lost its moral compass," said British barrister Jo Maugham. "More of one that has dashed that compass to the ground and is now grinding it underfoot."

The auction is "truly appalling," said U.K. group the Muslim Council's Miqdaad Versi. 

"The EU condemnation is utterly meaningless while they continue to single #apartheid #Israel out for special treatment with trade deals," tweeted the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign. "Support the #Palestinian boycott."

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