May 25, 2005

For Hand Delivery in Person
His Excellency Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian Authority

Your Excellency:

I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the new Palestinian textbooks which the PA has introduced to several grades of Palestinian primary and secondary schools. Attached please find a copy of a small portion of what I am told is a new 10th grade history text titled History of the Modern Contemporary Word.

I have included page 63 of this text, which references the infamous forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and notes that through it, the Zionist movement had adopted the goal of “world domination.”

More disturbing is that this may be indicative of the treatment that Jews and Israel receive throughout the new Palestinian textbooks – especially the universal failure in maps to note the existence of the State of Israel or to refer to places in the area by the names now universally recognized, such as Tel Aviv and Natanya. While Israel and peace is mentioned once in connection with the Oslo Accords, which is a commendable improvement, these concepts are mentioned nowhere else. I am also informed that the discussions of religious tolerance in the texts do not mention Jews specifically.

The shared goal of the Palestinian Authority, Israel, the US and the wider international community is a two-state solution, an Israel and an independent Palestine living side by side and at peace. It is imperative to condition Palestinian children to the existence of Israel and to at least not denigrate Jews or even the Zionist movement.

I know that Palestinian textbooks have been reformed over the past several years and that much offensive material has been eliminated. However, I urge you to ensure that references to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and other inflammatory portrayals of Jews are removed from Palestinian texts. I also urge you to ensure that Israel’s existence is at least acknowledged on maps and in discussions of Middle East peoples and geography. I also urge that you ensure that Palestinian textbooks include treatment of the Jewish people in discussions of religious tolerance.

The United States has provided $1.4 billion in aid to the Palestinian people since 1993. However, the US cannot continue to support the Palestinian Authority, whether directly or indirectly, if the education system does not create the conditions necessary for peace.


Rep. Brad Sherman