Monday, 30 Mar 2020 - 5 of Nisan, 5780

In debate, British parliament members ask: ‘Why have PA textbooks used to radicalize children not yet been changed?’

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Last year, the European Union announced that t would fund a study on Palestinian school textbooks “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,’’ after the presentation by IMPACT-se of a report reviewing selected examples from the new Palestinian school curriculum for the 2018–19 academic year and concludeing that the material was “more radical than those previously published”.

 

“We are deeply concerned about the reports of radicalization in the Palestinian education system and specifically the concerns around the Palestinian Authority’s textbooks and the incitement of hatred and violence towards Israelis,’’ declared  Minister of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development, James Cleverly, during a debate in Westminster Hall in London.

The debate was led by MP Jonathan Gullis,  a member of the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI),  who demanded answers from the minister and exhibited frustration as to why textbooks used to radicalize children in Palestinian Authority and UNWRA schools have not yet been changed.

The UK is a major donor to the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education.

Research reports by IMPACT-se, a Jerusalem-based  watchdog which monitors peace and cultural tolerance in school education, were used as evidence during the debate and repeatedly cited by the members of parliament. Last week, IMPACT-se briefed members of the House of Commons and House of Lords in preparation for the debate.

MP Gullis exhibited a reading comprehension textbook for 10-year-olds glorifying the Palestinian terrorist Dalal al-Mughrabi who murdered 38 Israelis including 13 children on a bus in 1978. He said: “After examining 202 textbooks from the current curriculum, IMPACT-se found a systematic insertion of violence, martyrdom and jihad across all grades and subjects where the possibility of peace with Israel is rejected.”

During the debate at Westminster Hall, Conservative MP Jonathan Gullis exhibited Palestinian textbook quoting IMPACT-se report.

During the debate, Conservative MP Stephen Crabb said: “Concerns have been constantly raised by members across parties in this house about the use of inciteful language in textbooks which whether directly or indirectly, UK aid has helped to finance. One of the questions we need an answer to this afternoon is why there has been so little progress.’’

In his intervention, the Chair of the Labour Friends of Israel (LFI), MP Steve McCabe, declared: “I strongly support a two-state solution and it is precisely because of that support that I believe it is imperative that we tackle the issue of radicalization in the Palestinian school curriculum. It seeks to pass on old hatreds and prejudices to a new generation of young people. It’s a barrier to reconciliation and coexistence, is pernicious and simply unacceptable.”

MPs repeatedly asked why the European Union report on Palestinian textbooks has still not seen the light of day, nearly two years after it was commissioned and asked that it be made publicly available.

In his response, Minister Cleverly said: “An enduring principle we can all agree is that Anti-Semitism is unacceptable in all its forms  – it is offensive it is hateful and has no place anywhere in society least of all in the classrooms.’’

He added: “Allegations relating to incitement in the Palestinian education system came to the international attention following the publication in 2018 of the report by the Israeli NGO known as IMPACT-se. These are serious allegations and we take them seriously.”

When will the EU study about the PA textbooks be issued ?

Last year, the European Union announced that t would fund a study on Palestinian school textbooks “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,’’ after the presentation by IMPACT-se of a report reviewing selected examples from the new Palestinian school curriculum for the 2018–19 academic year and concludeing that the material was “more radical than those previously published”.

“There have been allegations that some elements in Palestinian school textbooks are not in line with international standards for peace education. These allegations have been contested by multiple sources. Therefore, the EU is planning to fund a study, to be carried out by an independent and internationally recognised research institute,” an EU spokesperson said at the time, adding that the study ‘’will provide a comprehensive, non-biased and objective analysis of the current Palestinian textbooks, without a predetermined agenda or outcome.’’

“The EU has repeatedly discussed with both its Israeli and Palestinian partners issues and concerns related to incitement to hatred and violence, which is fundamentally incompatible with advancing a peaceful two-state solution and is greatly exacerbating mistrust between the communities,” the spokesman added.

What’s in the contested Palestinian textbooks?

“In contrast to previous curricula, this new curriculum deliberately omits any discussion of peace education or reference to any Jewish presence in Palestine before 1948,” IMPACT-se said in its report.

“Most troubling, there is a systematic insertion of violence, martyrdom and jihad across all grades and subjects in a more extensive and sophisticated manner, embracing a full spectrum of extreme nationalist ideas and Islamist ideologies that extend even into the teaching of science and mathematics,” the NGO continued.

The report provides various examples such as the poem below, aimed at nine-year-olds, and calling for “sacrificing blood” to remove the enemy from the land by “eliminating the usurper”.

 

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