Right: Representing the Western Wall (al-Buraq Wall[1]) as sacred exclusively to Muslims: “…the al-Buraq Wall is part of the western wall of al-Aqsa mosque and right to it belongs exclusively to Muslims” (from the fifth grade textbook Islamic Education, part 1 (2017), page 54).[2] Left: Demonizing Israel and accusing it of excavating under the Temple Mount to topple the mosques (Social studies textbook for the seventh grade, part 1 (2017), page 64).
  • This report updates the previous study about how Jews, Israel and peace appear in Palestinian Authority (PA) textbooks.[3] The study was conducted by Dr. Arnon Groiss and commissioned by the Center for Near East Policy Research, directed by David Bedein. The previous study was based on 150 textbooks dealing with various subjects, most of which were printed in the PA between 2013 and 2017. In 2016 the PA began a project for the new publication of the textbooks in use in its schools, which necessitated an update. When the textbooks for the first to tenth grades had been updated and printed, a further study was done by Dr. Groiss and the results appear below. The current study covers 118 textbooks, the vast majority of which were published in 2017 and replaced most of the textbooks in use in 2016.

An examination of the new textbooks issued by the PA shows they continue expressing, and in some instances by radicalizing, the same basic principles that appeared in previous textbooks: the delegitimizing of the State of Israel, demonizing the State of Israel, encouraging violence against it and an absence of education for peace. The books, which are strongly hostile to Israel and the Jewish people, are also used by UNRWA-run school, half of whose budget is devoted to education.[4]

  • The findings of Dr. Groiss’ study are similar to other studies conducted during the past decade dealing with Palestinian textbooks (some of which were reported on in ITIC bulletins). The studies repeatedly show the presence of hostility to Israel in the Palestinian educational system, which is a function of the Palestinian ethos on which generations of Palestinians have been raised, including the current generationThat ethos has led to a culture of hatred for the State of Israel and the Jewish people, and fuels the incitement, terrorism and ongoing violent struggle against Israel.

Dr. (Col. Ret.) Reuven Erlich
Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center

[1] Al-Buraq was the name of the animal which, according to Muslim tradition, carried Muhammad during his night flight from Mecca to Jerusalem, from which he rose to heaven.
[2] The claim that the Jews have no right to the Western Wall has also been expressed by Fatah spokesman Usama al-Qawasmeh, who claimed the Western Wall is part of al-Aqsa mosque, which lies on Palestinian ground occupied in 1967. He added that he was supported in his claim by a verdict handed down by a British court in 1929 stating the Wall was a Muslim site, and by the UNESCO resolutions that Jerusalem is Muslim and that there is no Jewish historic or religious link to the city (al-Mayadeen, December 17, 2017). 

[3] Update for the December 27, 2017 bulletin, Schoolbooks of the Palestinian Authority (PA): The Attitude to the Jews, to Israel and to Peace.” 

[4] Dr. Arnon Groiss, who conducted the study, noted that UNRWA, half of whose budget is devoted to education, uses textbooks published in the PA and adds books of its own which teach human rights, tolerance and other social values. A systematic review of the books shows they limit the discussion of those issues to Palestinian society alone with no reference to the Jewish- Israeli “other.” In other words, the textbooks published in the PA, which are used in UNRWA schools, are the only ones that refer to the rival “other” and the possibility of having peace with it. 


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