When you read the updated version of the “Peace to Prosperity” plan which U.S.President Trump presented last week, you find unprecedented criteria for the formation of a Palestinian State: “The Palestinians shall have ended all programs, including school curricula and textbooks, that serve to incite or promote hatred or antagonism towards its neighbors, or which compensate or incentivize criminal or violent activity”.
The context of this directive cannot be ignored.
Our twenty years of research show that the PLO has transformed schools into a tool of war against Israel.
Last month, the PLO issued a new text book dedicated to Dalal Al Mugrabi, a Palestinian woman shown in full terror garb who commandeered a bus in 1978 and murdered 38 Jews, including 13 children. Four pages about Dalal present her as a role model for fifth graders to emulate.
Throughout the ‘Peace to Prosperity’ plan, the US shows support for PA education, with no call for constraints.
In the words of Dr. Arnon Groiss, who translates these school books:
The “Peace to Prosperity” plan, suggested by the US to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict peacefully, includes a chapter on improving Palestinian educational standards… However, the contents of Palestinian education are exactly the opposite of any peace plan. If we just look at the Palestinian Authority schoolbooks used in all schools of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and those ones in Jerusalem that follow the PA curriculum, we would find them based on three fundamentals:
- De-legitimization of Israel’s existence and their very presence of its Jews in the country, including denial of their history there and the very existence of any holy places, portrayed as Muslim holy places taken over by Jews.
- Demonization of Israel, depicted as a the root of all evil and solely responsible for the conflict while the Palestinians are presented as the ultimate victim, and Jews are described as racist colonialists and said to harbor genocidal intentions towards the Palestinians. The Jews are demonized as enemies of Islam.
- Instead of advocacy for peace and co-existence with Israel, the PA schoolbooks call for a violent struggle for liberation of Palestine in its entirety, including Israel’s pre-1967 territories, described as Palestinian territories occupied in 1948. This war indoctrination is enhanced by adding religious notions to the struggle such as Jihad, martyrdom and the need to liberate Al-Aqsa Mosque, which transforms the national conflict into a religious one and thus makes peace further distant. Terror and the perceived “right of return” are part and parcel of the liberation struggle and there are hints in the books to the eventual extermination of the Jews residing in the country following its perceived liberation”
The entire curriculum of the Palestinian Ministry of Education is based on indoctrination to war.
Here are clear guidelines for an overhaul in Palestinian curriculum for more than 300 PA Schools which teach 321,000 pupils who live in UNRWA facilities in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Jerusalem;
Avoid De-legitimization of the State of Israel and of the Jewish Presence in the Country
- Maps that show today’s boundaries should at least mark Israel’s pre-1967 territory as “Israel”. Such a territory must not be left un-named and certainly not be named “Palestine”, as that constitutes a distortion of the situation on the ground.
- Israel should be presented as a sovereign state in every text.
- Every reference to a region or site within Israel’s pre-1967 lines must not describe such as Palestinian-under-occupation.
- Discussions of the Holy Places in the country should refer to the Jewish holy places alongside the Muslim and Christian ones. Reference to a place which happens to be sacred to Jews (such as the Western Wall, the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem) should state that fact.
- Discussion of demography should include the number of Jews living there (close to 7 million in 2019). Maps which show cities should include the Jewish cities as well – under their Hebrew names (such as Tel Aviv, Eliot, Ashdod, etc.).
- The books should not describe Israel’s pre-1967 territory as “occupied Palestine”, nor use terms like “the lands of 48”, “the Interior” instead of “Israeli territory”.
Avoid Demonization of Israel and Jews
- Schoolbooks demonize Israel/Jews, or de-humanize them, or any description that goes beyond the presentation of Israel and/or the Jews as an adversary with its own rights, interests and positions. Jews should not be presented as enemies of Islam. · It is much desired to add to the books the non-existent material that deals with Israel and the Jews objectively (for example, pieces that talk about the Israeli government structure, economy, science and technology, the Hebrew culture, Jewish history, etc.), which might balance the pervasive anti-Israeli theme in the books.
- It is important to stress in the books that the Jew is also a human being, apart from being an adversary, and should be treated accordingly.
- PA schoolbooks studied at UNRWA schools should include also self-criticism (i.e., the rejection of proposals for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, massacre of unarmed Jewish neighbors, etc.)
Advocate Peaceful Solution instead of Violent Struggle, Jihad and Martyrdom
- Books taught in UNRWA schools should emphasize that peace and coexistence is a strategic choice and that negotiations are the way to achieve a solution to any conflict.
- The books should refrain from presentation of a violent struggle as a means for solving the conflict.
- Islamic terms of Jihad and martyrdom should be mentioned in historic context and not as a goal to pursue.
- Any discussion of “Nakbah” should stress that the Nakbah resulted from of a war initiated by the Arabs and by Jews, contrary to what is said today in the new PA books.
- “Right of Return” should be presented as the PLO position regarding “the Refugee Problem”, while any solution will be achieved in negotiations on the basis of mutual agreement only.
Full disclosure: Besides examining school books used by Palestinian Authority schools located in UNRWA, the Center for Near East Policy Research has researched and filmed the conduct of full-fledged paramilitary training in these educational facilities over the past decade.
The “Peace to Prosperity” plan of action would put an end to such activity.