Thursday, 22 Oct 2020 - 4 of Heshvan, 5781

21 Members of the European Parliament call on EU to thoroughly investigate Palestinian textbooks containing antisemitic content and incitement to violence

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21 Members of the European Parliament have called on the EU “to undertake a thorough investigation and take immediate intervention” regarding Palestinian Authority (PA) textbooks written and used by education sector employees whose salaries are funded by the EU, as the books contain “antisemitic content and imagery, hate speech and incitement to violence, martyrdom, jihad”.

In a letter addressed to the High Representative of the Union and the European Commission, they called on the EU to withhold some funding to the PA due to the textbooks which, they said, ”are replete with insertions of anti-Semitic content and imagery, hate speech and incitement to violence, martyrdom and jihad across all grades and subjects.”

In a letter addressed to the High Representative of the Union and the European Commission, the cross-party group of MEPs from 15 countries urged the European Union to partially withhold funding to the Palestinian Authority until it ends its anti-Semitic incitement in school textbooks.

They said “the textbooks are replete with troubling insertions of anti-Semitic content and imagery, hate speech and incitement to violence, martyrdom and jihad across all grades and subjects. They violate each of the UNESCO standards for peace, tolerance and co-existence in school education. In the interests of advancing peace and putting an end to harmful incitement, we suggest that the Commission put a 5 percent reserve on funding for the Palestinians until such time that it makes substantive positive changes to the textbooks.”

The MEPs cited a research by IMPACT-se, a Jerusalem-based  watchdog which monitors peace and cultural tolerance in school education,  which found that there had been virtually no positive changes made to the Palestinian curriculum, despite commitments made by the Palestinian Prime Minister and Education Minister that changes would be made.

In their letter, they also asked the European Commission to discontinue its collaboration with the Georg Eckert Institute. The Germany-based institute was tasked in 2019 with analyzing the Palestinian textbooks, but a presentation of its interim report has revealed a series of grave professional errors.

The E.U. report, costing $258,640, erroneously praised the P.A. for supposed improvements in peace and tolerance due to the mistaken inclusion of Israeli Jerusalem Municipality textbooks in the report, wrongly understood by the researchers as being P.A. textbooks. The introductory review, also carried out by the Georg Eckert Institute, was plagued with Arabic translation errors and indicated a miscomprehension of Palestinian culture.

What happened already ?

Last May,  the European Parliament passed three resolutions condemning the Palestinian Authority (PA) for continuing to teach hate and violence in its school textbooks and which oppose European Union aid to the PA being used for this purpose. 

The legislation noted that problematic material in Palestinian school textbooks has still not been removed, points to the continued failure to act effectively against hate speech and violence in Palestinian textbooks. It called on the European Commission to ensure that salaries of teachers and education sector civil servants financed by the European Union are used to teach curricula that reflect UNESCO standards of peace, tolerance, coexistence and non-violence.

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