De-legitimization of Israel, demonization of Jews, advocacy for violence – this is what you will find in PA 2019 schools books

September 11, 2020 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Three fundamental elements are still given prominence in Palestinian Authority (PA) 2019 schoolbooks: the de-legitimization of the State of Israel’s existence, the demonization of Israel and the Jews, and advocacy of a violent struggle for the liberation of “Palestine,” a survey by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre (ITIC) has found.

Toddler sits on his father’s shoulder and waves a flag during a rally in Gaza City against US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan. Gaza, Feb 21, 2020. Photo by Majdi Fathi/TPS *

The ITIC published during the years 2017-2019, in cooperation with the Centre for Near East Policy Research, several studies on the presentation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the PA’s schoolbooks and teachers’ guides.

These studies were based on close to 400 schoolbooks and over 100 teachers’ guides published by the PA between the years 2013-2018.

As far as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was concerned, three fundamentals were found prominent in the examined schoolbooks: De-legitimization of the State of Israel’s existence, the demonization of Israel and the Jews who were referred to as the “the Zionist enemy,” and advocacy of a violent struggle for the liberation of “Palestine.”

Not a single call for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, or for co-existence with Israel, was found in any of the PA’s schoolbooks and teachers’ guides, the ITIC underscored in its report.

The examination of 133 books published in 2019 revealed that quite a few changes had been made to the books, but a thorough review of these changes made it clear that they strengthened the general picture regarding the conflict, as found in the previous studies, and did not change the general picture.

Additions to the books did not change the schoolbooks’ general line.

Omissions mainly took place due to editing considerations. They did not express changes in the general line that was traced in schoolbooks of previous editions, although there were cases where certain attempts of moderation were discerned.

For example, a language exercise that featured a poetical verse stating the need for Jihad in Palestine was omitted. Some of the negative descriptions – but not all – of an Israeli intelligence officer and a judge were omitted in a story depicting the suffering of a Palestinian detainee.

An important omission is that of a cartoon that shows Israel as if it were striving to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque, although this omission does not cancel the general line according to which Israel seeks to endanger the mosque.

Prominent corrections are those ones strengthening the line determined in 2016, according to which Israel’s name should not be mentioned. The name “Israel” that appeared in the former editions has been changed into “the Zionist occupation” in the 2019 edition, and the adjective “Israeli” has been changed into “Zionist.”

The sentence “the Israeli aggression against Gaza in 2014,” a description of Israel’s counterterrorism Operation Protective Edge, has been replaced by “the war against Gaza in 2014.”

A picture of the terrorist Dalal al-Mughrabi, who participated in a terrorist attack in which 37 Israeli civilians were murdered, who had previously been presented as an attractive feminine figure, has been replaced by one that presents her as a fighter.

The PA educational system has repeatedly been accused of poisoning the minds of its students by educating them to hate Israel and Israelis and through terror-promoting messages. The system has been found to use cultural mediums such as school plays, sports events and summer camps for this objective.

In line with this policy, the PA has named at least 28 schools after terrorists and at least three schools after Nazi collaborators. The PA Ministry of Education is directly and solely responsible for naming schools.

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