PA text­books still de­mo­nize Jews and Is­rael, study finds

Cur­ric­ula show pos­i­tive signs re­lat­ing to gen­der, en­vi­ron­ment

Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By ARIEL BEN SOLOMON

Pales­tinian Author­ity school books con­tinue to pro­mote vi­o­lence and de­mo­niza­tion of Is­rael and Jews.

The study, car­ried out by Im­pact-SE, found en­cour­ag­ing signs re­lat­ing to gen­der is­sues, civil so­ci­ety, the en­vi­ron­ment, re­spect for the “other” Mus­lim or Arab, and re­spect for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties and the el­derly.

How­ever, the cur­ric­ula con­vey a mes­sage re­ject­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions with Is­rael and pro­mote a strat­egy com­bin­ing vi­o­lence and in­ter­na­tional pres­sure against Is­rael.

It also pro­motes the “de­mo­niza­tion of Is­rael and Jews, in­clud­ing the char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of Is­rael as an evil en­tity that should be an­ni­hi­lated,” the re­port found.

“We hope to be able to dis­cuss with those who in­flu­ence the cur­ricu­lum of the Pales­tinian Author­ity that ed­u­ca­tion is both the most ef­fi­cient method of pro­mul­gat­ing ex­trem­ist nar­ra­tive and in­flu­ences, and by far the most pow­er­ful tool to punc­ture them,” Mar­cus Sh­eff, CEO of Im­pact-SE, told The Jerusalem Post on Sun­day. “We would very much want them to choose the lat­ter and ed­u­cate for peace and tol­er­ance.”

“There was a mo­ment af­ter Arafat died [in 2004] and be­fore Ha­mas won the par­lia­men­tary elec­tions in 2006 that the cur­ricu­lum im­proved. Change then is clearly pos­si­ble,” he added.

“In cur­ric­ula it is, of course, im­por­tant to re­frain from in­cit­ing to ha­tred and to pro­mote stan­dards for peace, tol­er­ance and mu­tual re­spect. This is also nec­es­sary for the well-be­ing of chil­dren in the Pales­tinian Author­ity,” he said.

Im­pact-SE, founded in 1998 and based in Jerusalem, is a re­search cen­ter that mon­i­tors and an­a­lyzes ed­u­ca­tion around the world and de­ter­mines com­pli­ance ac­cord­ing to UNESCO stan­dards for tol­er­ance.

The re­port com­pares the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion with a 2011 sur­vey of PA school cur­ric­ula. The study was car­ried out by Dr. El­dad Pardo of the He­brew Univer­sity of Jerusalem and fo­cuses on 78 text­books in a va­ri­ety of sub­jects for grades 1 to 12.

Ex­am­ples in the re­port of pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ments in­clude a pic­ture of a boy and a girl sit­ting to­gether on a bench and study­ing. The pic­ture, in a sixth-grade sci­ence textbook, is no­table be­cause while the girl is dressed mod­estly, she is not wear­ing a hi­jab hair cov­er­ing.

While the text­books do pro­mote pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment, they ig­nore co­op­er­a­tion with Is­rael in this area and even blame the Jewish state for en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age.

One im­prove­ment in the cur­ricu­lum from 2001 to 2009 was the re­moval of images such as that of a shahid, or “mar­tyr,” on his way to burial and cov­ered by a Pales­tinian flag.

An­other was the re­moval of an in­cit­ing sen­tence from a 2013 edi­tion of an Ara­bic lan­guage textbook for grade 12: “The Mes­sen­ger of God [The Prophet Muham­mad] in­structed Zayd ibn Thabit to learn the lan­guage of the Jews so that he would be safe from their de­cep­tion.”

How­ever, prob­lem­atic sen­tences re­main, such as this from a sixth-grade textbook, His­tory of the Arabs and Mus­lims: “The brave war­rior prefers death to hu­mil­i­a­tion and ca­pit­u­la­tion.”

Sh­eff com­mented, “In re­cent years we have seen a ten­dency on the part of Pales­tinian lead­ers and the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to de­clare that they are pro­mot­ing a two-state so­lu­tion, in ad­di­tion, of course, to the Oslo Ac­cords. Yet the same Pales­tinian govern­ment’s Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion ap­pears to be pro­mot­ing ex­actly the op­po­site.”

Is­rael still does not ap­pear on textbook maps (with one ex­cep­tion), and the en­tire area from the Jor­dan Val­ley to the Mediter­ranean Sea is marked as Pales­tine. In ad­di­tion, the Is­raeli “oc­cu­pa­tion” is men­tioned in ref­er­ence to the area in­side the Green Line, i.e. all of Is­rael.

A sev­enth-grade textbook, Our Beau­ti­ful Lan­guage, refers to pre-1967 Is­rael as “oc­cu­pied” and as “The Re­turn,” where Pales­tini­ans will set­tle in the fu­ture.

In a prob­lem­atic im­age ap­pear­ing in the Na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion textbook for sec­ond grade, the He­brew let­ters are re­moved from a trilin­gual stamp from the Bri­tish Man­date pe­riod.

And a sen­tence from a PA eighth-grade textbook, Read­ing and Texts, en­cour­ages stu­dents to wage ji­had: “Oh brother, the op­pres­sors have ex­ceeded all bounds and ji­had and sac­ri­fice are nec­es­sary.”

Re­li­gious ha­tred and vi­o­lence are pro­moted in Shari’a stud­ies such as a pas­sage also found in the Ha­mas Covenant, call­ing for the mur­der of Jews: “The End of Days will not take place un­til the Mus­lims fight the Jews, and the Mus­lims will kill them...”


THE HE­BREW WRIT­ING on a stamp (left) from the Bri­tish Man­date pe­riod was ex­cised from the ver­sion (right) printed in a PA school book.

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