These are vital questions that the UK and UNRWA must consider
Lord Turnberg (Non-affiliated) [HL2466] To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports of school books published by the Palestinian Authority containing incitement to hatred and violence.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The UK government is deeply concerned about allegations of incitement in the Palestinian Authority’s school textbooks. The UK secured EU agreement to lead an independent review of the textbooks which is underway. We expect interim findings by June 2020 and full findings later in the year. The International Development Secretary reiterated our concerns in a call to the Palestinian Authority’s Education Minister just last month.
There are two more questions which colleagues in the UK Parliament may wish to put forward:
Why do the UK and EU choose a German University , hardly known for its objectivity concerning Israel, as the academic institution to evaluate PA/UNRWA education?
Given the fact that some new school books indeed feature an Arab terrorist as a role model for 321.000 UNRWA pupils, why is there no demand that UNRWA to immediately confiscate and remove such texts, with the threat that UNRWA would lose its annual UK allocation if they do not do so? (*)
There is no doubt in my mind that other donor states would follow the UK example and act accordingly.
Enclosed please find the 2019 report of the donor nations to UNRWA, issued only last week, which we have posted in the context of all UNRWA donors over the past ten years:
You will see that the UK was donor nation number three for UNRWA in 2019, at $76,259,850. The UK is second only to Germany in the scale of nations that donate to UNRWA.
The most important aspect of the donation process to UNRWA is that not one of the donors place any conditions on their donations.
(*)Most recently, the Palestinian Ministry of Education issued a new textbook 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.
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 in Jerusalem that follow the PA curriculum, we find them based on three fundamentals:
- Delegitimization 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, all 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.
- Destruction of Israel instead of advocacy for peace and co-existence with Israel. 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 issues 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 site 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 a 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
- · 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.