In recent months Palestinians have been waging a campaign in Jerusalem to prevent the introduction of the Israeli curriculum into Palestinian educational institutions in east Jerusalem. The campaign was accelerated in recent weeks, apparently because the Jerusalem municipality began registering children in the schools in east Jerusalem for the 2018-2019 school year. Online registration became possible (which made the Palestinians suspicious). The claim of the campaign is that the objective of using the Israeli curriculum in east Jerusalem is to erase the Arab Palestinian identity and inculcate the Palestinian students with the Israeli narrative.
Three groups participate in the campaign:
- The Palestinian Authority (PA), led by Sabri Sidam, the PA’s minister of education who announced a series of practical measures his ministry is planning to take in support of schools, teachers and students. The objective is to prevent the introduction of the Israeli curriculum and strengthen Palestinian education in east Jerusalem.
- Senior religious leaders Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem and the PA, and Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, the imam of al-Aqsa mosque and chairman of the supreme Islamic authority. The two issued religious opinions forbidding the teaching of the Israeli curriculum.
- The central parents’ committee of Palestinian students in east Jerusalem, headed by Ziyad al-Shimali. He has been very active on the ground and in the media, and leads a broad campaign against the use of the Israeli curriculum in east Jerusalem.