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Ahead of EU review of Palestinian textbooks, new report shows more rejection of peace and promotion of hate

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The report by IMPACT-se shows that peace agreements, summits and proposals that were previously included in the Palestinian curriculum have been removed.

Ahead of publication of the EU review into Palestinian textbooks, a new report finds that they have significantly deteriorated in terms of rejection of peace and promotion of hate.

The new report by IMPACT-se (Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education) on the Palestinian curriculum has found it still openly promotes antisemitism, incites Palestinian children to violence and martyrdom and methodologically omits any discussion of peace in the context of Israel.

IMPACT-se is a world leader in researching, translating and exposing intolerance in school textbooks from the Middle East and beyond, while advocating for positive change.

The report shows that peace agreements, summits and proposals that were previously included in the Palestinian curriculum have been removed. This included Yasser Arafat’s call for a new era of peace, non-violence and coexistence, the name “Israel” on maps and the only existing lesson about peace advocacy as a universal ideal. Content continues to promote terrorists as heroes, encourage violent jihad and promote antisemitic tropes.

Of the few changes made to the 2020–21 Palestinian Authority curriculum, most were minimal or cosmetic in nature. Problematic material remained mainly intact, or in some cases, made worse.

The study comes ahead of the publication of the EU-funded review of Palestinian textbooks that was initially commissioned in April 2019. The review, conducted by the German Georg Eckert Institute, was initiated “with a view to identifying possible incitement to hatred and violence and any possible lack of compliance with UNESCO standards of peace and tolerance in education.”

But the review has been riddled with errors from the start of the research process, casting serious doubt over the credibility of the final report. This concern has been echoed by parliamentarians from the EU, UK, Germany and Norway.

The final report, initially due no later than September 2019, has now been delayed for two years and does not cover the entire corpus of textbooks.

An inception report published in April 2019 as a statement of methodology for the research, was found to contain basic Arabic translation errors, showed a lack of understanding of Palestinian culture and referenced research that does not exist.

A subsequent interim report, submitted to the EU in July 2020, was also found to contain fundamental errors. It reviewed Arabic-language Israeli state textbooks as positive examples of peace and tolerance, presenting them as Palestinian textbooks instead.

The director of the study confirmed to the German Tagesspiegel newspaper that the wrong books had indeed been used during the course of study. Other errors in the report included openly excusing antisemitism, justifying acts of terrorism and overlooking violence in science and math.

Overshadowed by a litany of errors, the report was intended to serve as a basis for policy across Europe in relation to the Palestinian curriculum.

 

IMPACT-se’s year-on-year analysis demonstrates the curriculum has moved further away from meeting UNESCO standards of peace and tolerance.

This is despite promises made by the Palestinian Prime Minister and Minister for Education that positive changes would be made in a Palestinian cabinet announcement and in a meeting with donor nations in Ramallah.

Simultaneously, Shtayyeh vehemently rejected changing the textbooks in a speech at the beginning of a PA Cabinet meeting. Last December, in response to funding cuts by Norway over textbook incitement, he said that if aid is conditioned on moderating content, the PA would rather finance the printing of textbooks using funds for water, electricity and communications than make changes.

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