Un­wra in text­book u-turn

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - BY ANSHEL PF­EF­FER

PRO­POSED CHANGES to the cur­ric­ula of Pales­tinian schools run by the United Na­tions Re­lief and Works Agency (Un­wra) have led to a rift be­tween the or­gan­i­sa­tion and the Pales­tinian Author­ity.

Nearly 600,000 Pales­tinian chil­dren study daily at Un­wra-fi­nanced schools, us­ing text­books that Is­raeli au­thor­i­ties claim show bias against the Jewish state and lack ob­jec­tiv­ity.

Claims of “in­cite­ment” in Pales­tinian text­books have largely fo­cused on the fact that Is­raeli cities and the state are of­ten miss­ing from maps, re­placed by one Pales­tinian state from the Jor­dan River to the Mediter­ranean, and that Jews are por­trayed as for­eign ag­gres­sors, try­ing to wipe out the Pales­tinian peo­ple.

Co­gat, the Is­raeli De­fence min­istry depart­ment deal­ing with Pales­tinian af­fairs, praised the Un­wra plan, say­ing it would “cre­ate a bal­anced, pos­i­tive cur­ricu­lum with univer­sal val­ues free from vi­o­lence and in­cite­ment”. How­ever, the PA’s ed­u­ca­tion min­istry de­nounced it as an “af­front to the Pales­tinian peo­ple, its his­tory and strug­gles” and threat­ened to sever all links with Un­wra.

An Un­wra spokesper­son re­sponded that the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s pol­icy was “to re­view and, where ap­pro­pri­ate, en­rich the of­fi­cial PA text­books, cur­ric­ula and other learn­ing ma­te­ri­als used in Un­wra schools to en­sure com­pli­ance with UN val­ues and prin­ci­ples”.

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