Sunday, 24 Jan 2021 - 11 of Shevat, 5781

EU Palestinian textbook study riddled with errors, reviews wrong textbooks and ditches UK preliminary report

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A preliminary report of the EU-funded Palestinian textbook study has proven to be riddled with errors, casting serious doubt over the validity of its findings, said Jerusalem-based NGO Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se).

The report, which contains factual inaccuracies, shows the institute’s poor Arabic comprehension, unfamiliarity with Palestinian culture, and contains factual inaccuracies, the institute told European Jewish Press.

The preliminary report was made public after a Freedom of Information Request. IMPACT-se noted that it contains worrying Arabic translation mistakes such as mistranslating women who accompany Muslim believers in paradise as “Horoscope,” while Shimon Peres is translated as the “piers” constructed over water. Moreover, many words that should have been included in the quantitative report are omitted such as Nakba, sacrifice, soldier, Hamas, Al Haram Al-Sharif, war and martyrdom.

In April 2018, the United Kingdom commissioned a report on Palestinian textbooks from the Germany-based Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research (GEI), which subsequently published what was called the Inception Report, which lays out the introduction to an eventual full report, but has been found to be riddled with mistakes and mistranslations. The European Union then joined in the process, but has now decided to issue its own Interim Report, which is classified, and a Final Report, again using the GEI.

A presentation of the Interim report that came to light revealed that the study covers Arabic textbooks produced by the Israeli Jerusalem Municipality and used in East Jerusalem schools, mistaking them for Palestinian Authority textbooks and praising them for showing improvements stating that they “promote peace or show tolerance towards Israeli individuals”.

These textbooks are supported by the Israeli Ministry of Education and paid for by Israeli taxpayers. But they are in no way a part of the Palestinian Authority curriculum.

76% of the 85 grade 8-10 textbooks researched in the EU’s interim report are no longer taught or used in Palestinian Authority schools.

The EU responded to mass press coverage by dissociating from the UK preliminary report and wrongly claimed “the study does not include Israel textbooks.’’ The interim report presentation, obtained by IMPACT-se,  proves otherwise.

An EU spokesperson and the EU’s Middle East director stated the EU was casting aside the preliminary report, saying this was a UK funded report, and that this has not formed the basis for the EU funded study.

‘’These mistakes are deeply troubling and expose the reviewing institute’s incompetency in being able to carry through this review,’’ said IMPACT-se. ‘’Despite the well-publicized errors, the EU is still refusing to publish interim findings.’’

IMPACT-se said that ‘’this is clearly a case of the EU prevaricating and trying to cover up glaring mistakes with the study by distancing from UK partners. The EU stated ‘there should be no doubt in your mind about the importance that the European Commission attaches to transparency,’ which begs the question as to why they are so insistent on keeping the Interim report classified, preventing public scrutiny and peer review, instead lending to further opacity.’’

‘’The failure to effectively review these books will result in the continuation of radical and hateful material being taught to half a million Palestinian children on a daily basis,’’ the institute added, noting the high cost of the study (€220,000 or $237,000) paid by British and EU taxpayers.

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