Monday, 16 May 2022 - 15 of Iyyar, 5782
EU

European Parliament condemns the Palestinian Authority for funding more violent and hateful textbooks

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Multiple attempts by pro-Palestinian lobbyists to quash the resolutions failed.

Resolution calling for audit of EU funding to Israel voted down.

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The European Parliament on Wednesday condemned the Palestiniazn Authority (PA) for the third consecutive year for its abuse of EU funding used to draft and teach new violent and hateful textbooks worse than previous editions.

A resolution adopted by the EU parliament during its plenary session in Strasbourg demands that the Palestinian Authority be “closely scrutinized,” that the curriculum be modified “expeditiously,” and reiterates previous motions adopted by the Parliament insisting that funding to the PA “must be made conditional” on teaching peace and tolerance in compliance with UNESCO standards.

The vote is part of the EU’s annual budgetary procedure, which scrutinizes how European taxpayer funds have been spent through projects carried out by the European Union.

The resolution was introduced by the liberal Renew Europe group and supported by the center-right European People’s Party (EPP), the largest group in the EU Parliament.

The resolution wasadopted by  357 in favor, 259 against, 24 abstentions

The resolution is based on a report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), an international research and policy organization that monitors and analyzes education around the world. This NGO employs international standards of peace, tolerance and non-violence, as derived from UNESCO declarations and resolutions, to determine compliance and to advocate for change when necessary. 

The report was presented to a joint foreign affairs, budget, budgetary control and education and culture committee hearing of the parliament, as well as to the European Commission, in an April 20th testimony,  and in a series of meetings with IMPACT-se’s leadership prior to the vote.

The report uncovered thousands of pages of new teaching material found to be worse than current or previous Palestinian textbooks, produced by PA civil servants whose salaries are funded by the EU, that directly call for violence and promote antisemitism.

The EU confirmed last month that all funding continues to be withheld over textbook hate as deliberations to condition some funding on textbook reform reached the President of the EU Commission corroborating previous statements by the Palestinian Authority. Though aid is expected to be channeled to the PA later this year, the amount to be made conditional on textbook reform is unknown.

The resolution comes ahead of the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) meeting next week, which coordinates all international aid to Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority.

Multiple amendments attempting to nullify the impact of the resolution fell, including a separate resolution on EU funds for Israel, which was voted down. This while leading up to the vote, campaigners in Brussels falsely contended that the PA textbooks meet UNESCO standards.

On April 20, the PA Minister of Education withdrew from an EU parliamentary debate with IMPACT-se at the last moment. He was criticized by both the Commission and Parliament for refusing to attend after he originally called for the hearing.

French MEP Ilana Cicurel of the liberal Renew Europe group and member of the education and culture committee,  said: The vote is a strong call towards the Commission to take action to stop the use of educational contents that promote antisemitism and incite to hatred and violence in Palestinian textbooks and study cards.’’ ‘’We need educational material that is fully in line with UNESCO standards of peace, tolerance, coexistence and non-violence to offer Palestinian children perspectives in the future,’’ she added.

‘’This is a key principle of the EU strategy on combating anti-Semitism of great relevance in the aftermath of the recent wave of terrorist attacks in Israel. It should in no way be conflated with stopping EU funding to the PA in its entirety, which is important for regional stability and should not be seen as removing part of the budget as the reserve would be unfrozen when international standards would be met.’’

German MEP Niclas Herbst of the EPP Party and budget committee vice chairman said: We have a clear standpoint. There is zero tolerance for antisemitism and promoting of violence. All Palestinian pupils have the right for an education free of hatred and as long as we, the European Union finance an education system we are also responsible for this.’’

‘’ If we take our budgetary procedure seriously, if we want to keep our credibility we need to talk about the funding of the educational system in general, because we cannot accept that this is financed with EU taxpayer money. We should have zero tolerance when it comes to anitsemitism and it has to be free of hate speech.’’

Dutch MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen, a member of the foreign affairs committee, stressed that ‘’it’s time to act because, we don’t see any improvements.  Despite many calls from EU Parliament, the textbooks, but also the new materials, the study cards are still full of antisemitism, hate speech and incitement to violence. Students are directly encouraged to commit acts of violence and instructed to commit jihad against Israelis and die as martyrs. That is really unacceptable. lets tell him  [PA minister of education] that we won’t unblock the reserve as long as the textbooks don’t meet UNESCO standards.’’

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