“The supervision over UNRWA schools, where 42% of Arab children in Jerusalem are educated, is loose, at best. Center for Near East Policy Research Director David Bedein has taken UNRWA schools on as a pet project. For years, the Education Ministry had been claiming that the UNRWA schools were under strict supervision, but at the Knesset Education Committee meeting on incitement a month ago, a representative of the Education Ministry clarified that supervision over UNRWA schools did not actually exist.
When Bedein first exposed the content of the textbooks at the UNRWA schools, the authorities in Israel and abroad did not believe him. It was only when he sent foreign camera crews into the schools in the Palestinian Authority to document the use of these textbooks in the classrooms that people started taking him seriously”
Several of the Palestinians attacking Jews in recent weeks have been minors, including pre-teens • The phenomenon of child terrorists comes as no surprise when schools, babies and sports teams in the PA are named after terrorists and murderers.
Hatred is an acquired trait. The Palestinian children who have been taking to the streets and stabbing Jews in recent weeks were not born with it, but they are certainly bred to it. A thorough investigation of the texts and images that shape the minds, worldviews and reality of the average Palestinian child, starting in infancy and through to high school, is extremely depressing. Such an investigation can provide answers as to why the ages of Palestinian terrorists keep dropping.
According to data provided by the Shin Bet security agency, the average age of 80% of the terrorists in the current surge of violence has been 20. The terrorist who stabbed four Israelis in Kiryat Gat on Saturday was only 17. One of the attackers in Pisgat Ze’ev last month was only 12; an 11-year-old and a 14-year-old stabbed a security guard on the Jerusalem light rail this month; and the girls who stabbed a man with scissors at the Jerusalem Mahane Yehuda market this week were 14 and 16.
There are many fathers to the doctrine of hatred and incitement, starting with the Palestinian Authority’s education system, through social media and the Internet, and ending with the general atmosphere cultivated by the Palestinian media and many of public officials and clergymen within Palestinian society. Twenty years ago, the Palestinians signed the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (commonly known as Oslo II), promising to “ensure that their respective educational systems contribute to the peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples and to peace in the entire region” and to “refrain from introduction of any motifs that could adversely affect the process of reconciliation.”
But today, this historic text seems like a sad joke, at best. New and up-to-date research conducted by Palestinian Media Watch, the Center for Near East Policy Research, MEMRI and the Strategic Affairs Ministry attest to just how sad this joke really is.
The latest, most chilling development has to do with the age of the indoctrinated. If in the past, Palestinian children were exposed to the systematic perversions of truth and dissemination of hatred starting in kindergarten, now the Palestinian indoctrination mechanism is even recruiting babies. The Palestinian baby bestowed with the name “Knife of Jerusalem” — his birth certificate and photo were posted on the official Fatah website – is not alone. Dozens of photos of babies and very young children holding knives that someone stuffed into their tiny hands have been littering social media sites, along with war slogans and other violent texts. The juxtaposition between their innocent, sweet faces and the knives and violent language is immensely disturbing.
This indoctrination in infancy is only the beginning. When they grow up, they are exposed to an entire doctrine in the Palestinian Authority’s institutions and education system. The latest Palestinian Media Watch report, “Palestinian Authority Education — A Recipe for Hate and Terror,” was presented to the Knesset Education Committee but received very little media attention. It goes into great detail about the phenomenon.
In the 57-page report, Itamar Marcus and his colleagues detail how 25 schools in the Palestinian Authority are named after terrorists. One of those schools, in Bethlehem, is named after 17-year-old female suicide bomber Ayat Al-Akhras. Many girls see her as a role model, wearing shirts bearing her image.
Three additional schools (two of them in the Hebron area) are named after Dalal Mughrabi. In 1978, Mughrabi led the massacre of 37 civilians, among them 12 children, on a bus on the coastal highway. The official Palestinian Authority television network recently aired a program on the Dalal Mughrabi school in Gaza.
In the program, the students expressed their esteem for the terrorist. “Still our mothers give birth to thousands like Dalal,” said one student. “And she still walks among us. I personally am proud to attend the Dalal Mughrabi School, which bears this pioneering name.”
“My life’s ambition is to reach the level that the martyr fighter Dalal Mughrabi reached,” said another student.
Mughrabi was also honored during an event for the General Union of Palestinian Teachers on World Teachers’ Day in 2013. Ahmad Sahwil, the secretary general of the union, singled out three murderous terrorists and compared Palestinian teachers to them, stating that they are “exalted examples of sacrifice and bravery.” The three were Ahmed Yassin (founder of Hamas), Salah Khalaf (responsible for the massacre of Israeli athletes in Munich), and Abu Jihad (co-founder of Fatah and the mastermind of attacks in which a total of 125 people were killed).
At a separate event, Issa Salman, head of the Jerusalem branch of the General Union of Palestinian Teachers, said, “In our schools, we teach what our religion [Islam] and conscience dictate: that Jerusalem is Arab and that Palestine — from north to south, from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea — is Islamic Palestinian Arab, and will remain so in spite of the damned occupier.”
In September, the head of the union called on the Palestinian public to die as martyrs for Al-Aqsa.
At another Fatah ceremony, an 8-year-old boy recited the following text: “Pick up your rifle, resist and terrify [them]. Break your silence, free your thoughts. … Stand firm, strengthen your heart. Destroy, shock, burn and set fire.”
Two high schools for girls in the West Bank — Anabta and Iktiba — posted pictures of Hitler on their Facebook pages. Both included the same text focusing on the genocide of Jews: “Hitler said, ‘I could have annihilated all of the Jews in the world, but I left a few so that you would know why I annihilated them.'”
Children’s programs on Palestinian television use young hosts to reach the younger audience. They repeatedly teach children that Israel will be destroyed and taken over by Palestinians. “My friends,” says one host, “I am telling you that for sure Jaffa, and not only Jaffa but also Haifa, Acre, Nazareth and all the Palestinian cities occupied in 1948 will return to us one day.”
One Palestinian couple named their newborn son after Muhannad Halabi, a 19-year-old terrorist who murdered Nehemia Lavi and Aharon Bennett in the Old City of Jerusalem last month.
Palestinian Media Watch researchers found that 32 Palestinian sports teams are named after prisoners, detainees, deportees, Palestinian civilians and terrorists who together are responsible for the deaths of more than 150 people.
Last June, the Palestinian Authority and Fatah held a summer camp near Nablus in which children in military fatigues danced with guns. Days later, the official PA television network featured a cute little girl who recited some very harsh words: “Oh, you who murdered Allah’s pious prophets [Jews]. Oh, you who were brought up on spilling blood. You have been condemned to humiliation and hardship. Oh, sons of Zion, oh, most evil among creations. Oh, barbaric monkeys, wretched pigs.”
MK Anat Berko (Likud), who participated in the last Knesset Education Committee meeting on the issue of incitement, is a lieutenant-colonel in the reserves, a doctor of criminology and an expert on terrorism. Her doctoral thesis was on the “moral infrastructure of terrorists who specialize in launching suicide attacks.”
In her research, Berko relied heavily on face-to-face interviews with terrorists held in high-security prisons in Israel. She says that years of experience in the field, including with young terrorists, have taught her that terrorists feed mainly on peer pressure — the glorification of youngsters who already committed attacks and the desire to fit in, especially during the teenage years.
Berko describes the children who are exposed to incitement as “victims of the Palestinian Authority.” She explains that “their way of thinking is dictated, it is not free, critical or judgmental. It is a way of thinking that stems from hatred for others. Violence has become structural. In my research I called it ‘to be a martyr or not to be at all.’ It is like a horse with blinders on.”
Berko reveals that the entrance ceremonies held at several Palestinian kindergartens included dipping hands in red paint symbolizing Jewish blood. “It is shocking, but at the same time it is tragic. They are victims of their own education system,” she says.
In the mid-2000s, Palestinian Media Watch released a thorough investigation of the textbooks used in the Palestinian Authority. The content of the textbooks wasn’t as overt as the messages in the streets today, but the spirit was the same. Two years ago, Dr. Arnon Gross, formerly of the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace, studied the new versions of the textbooks printed mainly between 2012 and 2013. Gross went as far as the U.S. Congress and the European Parliament with his findings.
He once discovered that in the chapter on Zionism, 10th-grade history textbooks state that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are actually secret decisions made by the First Zionist Congress. The Belgians, who fund the Palestinians generously, asked for proof. Gross provided copies of the book. The Belgians intervened and the lies were removed. But since then, the Europeans haven’t been too quick to intervene.
Gross says he checked 240 different Palestinian textbooks and examined the maps of the region they include. He found three types of maps: “The most common is one where all of Israel is called Palestine and Israel is not mentioned at all. The second delineates Israel’s borders with the West Bank and the Gaza Strip marked but unnamed. Israel was only mentioned in two maps.”
Like Gross, Itamar Marcus and Jacques Zilberdik of Palestinian Media Watch recognize the systematic indoctrination in most Palestinian textbooks. They cultivate the belief that all of “historical Palestine” (from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River) will be restored to the Palestinians while rejecting Israel’s right to exist as a state. They demonize and dehumanize the Jews, and they teach that all forms of struggle, including terrorism, are legitimate.
The situation in east Jerusalem schools is similarly bleak. The textbooks there are ostensibly under the supervision of the municipal education administration, but uncensored books somehow make their way into the classrooms. There are also worksheets passed out to students, and those are under no supervision.
One of these worksheets describes a conversation between Jewish and Arab children. One of the Arab children asks a Jewish child, “Where are you from?” and the Jew says, “I am from Warsaw.” The Jew then asks the Arab, “Where are you from?” and the Arab says, “I am from Acre.” The lesson of the story appears at the bottom of the page, with the Arab children asked the Jewish children, “So why are you on our land? Why are you on our parents’ land?”
The supervision over UNRWA schools, where 42% of Arab children in Jerusalem are educated, is loose, at best. Center for Near East Policy Research Director David Bedein has taken UNRWA schools on as a pet project. For years, the Education Ministry had been claiming that the UNRWA schools were under strict supervision, but at the Knesset Education Committee meeting on incitement a month ago, a representative of the Education Ministry clarified that supervision over UNRWA schools did not actually exist.
When Bedein first exposed the content of the textbooks at the UNRWA schools, the authorities in Israel and abroad did not believe him. It was only when he sent foreign camera crews into the schools in the Palestinian Authority to document the use of these textbooks in the classrooms that people started taking him seriously.
But in east Jerusalem, where many young terrorist have been cultivated, there are also private schools that are not under the jurisdiction of the municipality or UNRWA. Those schools are responsible for the education of some 42,000 of the 90,000 students in east Jerusalem. At one school in Sheikh Jarrah, girls recently held a vigil for the “souls of the sacred martyrs.” At another private school in Beit Hanina, a play supporting imprisoned terrorists and inciting against the IDF was recently staged.
Seven years ago, Israeli Arab Alawin Jabar founded the only school in east Jerusalem (in Beit Hanina) that teaches an Israeli curriculum. Jabar told the Knesset members he met with that having the Arab youth meet with Jewish youth once a week as part of the school curriculum did wonders to shatter stereotypes and to turn hatred into acceptance.
“My school started out with 40 students,” Jabar says. “Today we have 700, and if I had the space I could fill it with 2,000 within a year. In my view, that means that the population in east Jerusalem wants change and hope, and anyone who wants those things needs to invest in education, in eradicating ignorance, and in establishing debates on facts, not lies and distortions.”
Despite having addressed reports of incitement in the past, the international community has now ceased to confront the issue. When Hillary Clinton was a senator, she leafed through the findings and voiced outrage, but didn’t do very much about it, not even as secretary of state.
As of now, all the bodies dealing with this issue agree that Israel is failing to systematically address the incitement and indoctrination to which Palestinian babies, children and teens are being subjected. The results can be felt in the streets of Israel, in the form of boys and girls filled with hate and intent on stabbing Jews.