A kindergarten run by Combonian sisters of Jerusalem is at risk of closure because the Israeli separation wall has blocked the children from reaching it.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem reported this week that some 50 children of the kindergarten of Bethany (Shayyah) Jerusalem will not be allowed this year to reach the school through a small opening in the wall. They come from the Aizaria area, a Palestinian compound beyond the wall.

The children were permitted to use the opening during the ’09-’10 academic year, but at a recent meeting between the military authority of the area, the sisters and the apostolic nuncio, it was deemed by the military to be unsafe for them and for the children.

Without use of the opening, the children can reach the school only by way of a 15-kilometer (9-mile) bus ride, or through a shortcut used only by the military.

Though the school is scheduled to open in the coming days, its status is uncertain while negotiations are still under way to find a solution for the children’s travel.

“In the meanwhile the sisters and the children’s parents consider the survival of the school as a very important element for the future of the children themselves,” the patriarchate reported. “The solution has to be found by the army, otherwise the school has to be closed.”