As this is being written, in late August 2006, news wires around the world are running a story that Machmud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority, has launched a new peace initiative with Israel.

However, the new school books that this same Machmud Abbas has now introduced in the Palestinian Authority school system – run independently of Hamas – represent a curriculum that prepares a new generation of Palestinians to destroy Israel.

Following fervent support given to Hizbullah’s total war on Israel by Abbas and the Palestinian Authority this summer, this raises the question as to whether the new school year in the Palestinian Authority, opening next week, will simply ad fuel to the fire of the Palestinian Authority’s war against Israel, instead of a new peace initiative with the Jewish State.

Since these PA school books have also been incorporated in the Arab schools in Jerusalem, which raises cause for further concern, while a movement is afoot in the Israeli Arab schools in the rest of Israel to adopt the PA curriculum in their schools.

Indeed, the latest study of PA textbooks, www.intelligence.org.il/eng/default.htm, commissioned by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in Herzelia, www.intelligence.org.il, an agency that had been consistently supportive of the Oslo Peace Process, speaks for itself.

Here are some pearls of wisdom that Palestinian children will learn from the new school books of the Palestinian Authority this year:

1. Israel does not appear on any maps of the world in the new PA textbooks, while maps of Israel replace the name Israel with Palestine in all of the new Palestinian Authority school books. Tarikh al-Hadarat al-Qadima (History of Ancient Civilizations), 5th grade textbook, p. 53. Al-Iqstisad al-Manzili (Home Economy), 10th grade textbook, p. 42,Tarikh al-‘Alam al-Hadith wal-Mu’asir (History of the New Modern World) 10th grade textbook, p. 86.

2. The new Palestinian School Books “annex” sites in Israel to Palestine: “Haifa is a Palestinian seaport”, (p. 7) (Lughatuna al-Jamila (Our Beautiful Language) Vol. 2, 5th grade textbook, p. 86). “Galilee, Nazareth and Beit She’an are regions in Palestine” (p. 7) (Al-Iqtisad al-Manzili (Home Economy), 10th grade textbook, pp. 36-37).

3. The new Palestinian school books mention Israel only as an enemy, in reference to “occupation of lands” in 1948 and 1967. Example: “there is no doubt that the Israeli occupation has a negative impact on Palestinian agriculture and its export” (p. 8) (Lughatuna al-Jamila (Our Beautiful Language) Vol. 1, 10th grade textbook, p. 102).

4. The new Palestinian school books present Zionism only as an enemy movement. a. “The Palestinian people are under an oppressive siege, limiting their movement and way of life” ( p. 9) (Al-Tarbiyah al-Islamiyyah (Islamic Education), Vol. 1, 5th grade textbook, p. 49). b. Accusation against settlements [from 1948!] of damaging water sources “the influence of settlement on sources of water in Palestine” (p. 9) (Ulum al-Sihha wal-B’ia (Health and Environmental Sciences), 10th grade textbook, p. 122) c. “the Palestinian family has problems… stemming from the occupation… it loses father, mother or son to death or imprisonment… endures the difficulties of life… (p. 11) (Al-Tarbiyah al-Wataniyya (National Education), 5th grade textbook, p. 23)

5. The new Palestinian School Books make the false claim that an “extremist Zionist” set fire to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969 (p. 12) (Tarikh al’Alam al-Hadith wal-Mu’asir (History of the new Modern World), 10th grade textbook, p. 106) when it was really a mentally unstable fundamentalist Christian Australian

6. The new Palestinian School Books teach that the 1st Zionist Congress at Basel fostered the Zionist State based on a secret decision of what came to be known as the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”. (p. 13) (Tarikh al-‘Alam al-Hadith wal Mu-‘asir (History of the News Modern World), 10th grade textbook, pp. 60-64).

7. The new Palestinian School books teach that the only ancient inhabitants of Israel were Arabs, ignoring any ancient Jewish presence. “Concentrated… in the land of Al-Sham {Greater Syria}… was the culture of the Canaanite and Aramaic peoples who migrated there from the Arab peninsula” (p.14-15) (Tarikh al-Hadarat al-Qadima (History of Ancient Civilizations), 5th grade textbook, Foreward).

8. The new Palestinian school books teach that Palestinians must use war and violence to accomplish their goals, especially martyrdom. (p.18) The heroic mother, “who incessantly presents one sacrifice [fida’] after another” (Lughatuna al-Jamila (Our Beautiful Language), Vol 2, 5th grade textbook, p. 31). The warrior goes to war faced with one of the: victory or martyrdom in battle for the sake of Allah. (Ibid. Vol. 1, 5th grade textbook, p. 70). (p.19) “Allah designated the people of this land (Al-Sham and Palestine) to an important task: they must stand on the forefront of the Muslim campaign against their enemies, and only if they fulfill their duty to their religion, nation, and land will they be rewarded as stated in the scriptures.” (Al-Tarbiya al-Islamiyyah (Islamic Education), Vol 2, 10th grade textbook,p. 50).

9. The new Palestinian school books feature children with names such as Jihad (holy war) and Nidal (struggle). (p.22) (Tarikh al-Hadarat al-Qadima (History of Ancient Civilizations), 5th grade textbook, p.6).

10. The new Palestinian school books stress the importance of “return” of refugees to all of Palestine – by violence, if necessary. (p. 22) “The wrong must be made right by returning them to their homes: we returned to the homeland after a long absence”.(Lughatuna al-Jamila (Our Beautiful Language), Vol 2, 5th grade textbook, p. 43). “Returning to the homes, the plains and the mountains, under the banners of glory, jihad [holy war] and struggle” (Lughatuna al-Jamila (Our Beautiful Language), Vol 1, 5th grade textbook, p.88).

If the path to peace is paved with education, that path is not being taken by the Palestinian Authority.

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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