On the day that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak was en route to Washington to meet with President Bill Clinton to revive the peace process with the Palestinian Authority, the “Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace” issued a study of the new Palestinian Authority’s teacher’s guide, which serves as the new official guide that PA teachers are required to use in their schools.
(The Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace, located in Jerusalem, translates Arabic language newspapers and textbooks, posts this and and its other reports at www.edume.org, and provides data for the trilateral American-Israeli-Palestinian commission that was formed to monitor allegations of incitement.)
The Center’s premise is that without peace education, you cannot have peace. For that reason, Israel pioneered a curriculum for peace, a program now in its seventh year, reaching Israeli pupils from all walks of life.
The Palestinian Authority, on the other hand, has maintained a rigid curriculum that continues to call for liberation of all of Palestine, while describing Israel, Jews, and Zionism in the most demonic of terms. PA officials say in their defense that these are the books that they get from Jordan and from Egypt.
What PA officials forget to mention is that Israel had deleted the “offensive” sections of the Jordanian and Egyptian textbooks when Israel ruled the west bank and Gaza, and that the Palestinian Authority has reinstated those deletions.
Many people held out hope that all this would change.
In the words of senior Israeli cabinet minister Shimon Peres, who addressed the International Conference of the Jewish media this past February, “We look forward to seeing a new textbooks for peace in the Palestinian Authority”.
Not so, according to Itamar Marcus, the research director of the center that issued this comprehensive nineteen page study of the Palestine Authority’s Teacher’s Guide, which reads more like a war manual than an educator’s tool.
Some Selections From the PA Teacher’s Guide
PA teachers are required to prepare their students for a Jihad (holy war) to liberate all of Palestine and to “cherish the Jihad fighters who quench the earth of Jerusalem with their blood”.
Palestinian Authority students are to asked to emulate the efforts of Saladin, who liberated Jerusalem from the Crusaders conquest.
PA teachers are to refer to Israel as the “Zionist occupier”, in the context of “racism and Nazism”.
PA teachers are to instill in their students with the idea that “Jews are dangerous enemies of Allah, Islam and the Arab nation”.
PA teachers are to teach Zionism as an example of European imperialism, whose aim is “the elimination of the original inhabitants of Palestine”.
PA teachers are to distribute a text entitled “The Jewish danger in Palestine”.
PA teachers are asked to define Jews in terms of their racial and religious zealotry, and to explain that this is why Jews were persecuted over the years by the Christian world.
Meanwhile, the new historical texts of the Palestinian Authority, define Israel as a “thieving conquerer”, while the only map of Palestine in the new textbooks of the Palestinian Authority eliminates the state of Israel, while Israeli cities like Haifa, Jaffa, Beersheva, and the entire Galil and Negev are termed Palestinian cities.
After our news agency received this Palestinian Authority teacher’s guide, I visited the Palestinian Ministry of Education near Ramallah, where I was received in a courteous fashion.
I asked a senior PA education official there if the PA would delete material that Israel considered to be offensive. The answer, delivered in a soft, firm tone by a senior official of the PA was clear: “We are sovereign and we will determine what we will teach our children, without any interference”.
Meanwhile, the US consul in Jerusalem, Mr. John Herbst, announced that the USAID would increase its support of Palestinian education with an additional $10 Million of assistance.
The question remains: How does this kind of education jive with a peace process?