Palestinian Schoolbooks ‘More Radical,’ New Report Finds

palestinian school
REUTERS/Abed Omar Qusini

JERUSALEM, Israel – New Palestinian Authority schoolbooks for the lower grades of elementary school are “significantly more radical” than in the past, a report issued by a Hebrew University research center said.

According to the report, the material issued by the PA, which is ostensibly Israel’s only partner for future peace talks, “teaches students to be martyrs, demonizes and denies the existence of Israel and focuses on a ‘return’ to an exclusively Palestinian homeland.”

The report, by the Hebrew University’s Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), says children are taught from a young age to be “expendable.”

“Messages such as: ‘the volcano of my revenge’; ‘the longing of my blood for my land’; and ‘I shall sacrifice my blood to saturate the land’ suffuse the curriculum. Math books use numbers of dead martyrs to teach arithmetic. The vision of an Arab Palestine includes the entirety of what is now Israel, defined as the ‘1948 Occupied Territories,’” a paragraph from the report’s summary reads.

The schoolbooks emphasize the importance of respecting national institutions and authorities and encourages the children to pursue personal success.

But while they do not use Islam as a “radical political tool” for this age group, they are filled with negative messages about non-Muslims. According to the report, the books contain some information about Christianity but none at all about Judaism.

Neglecting a previous – and unsubstantiated – claim that the Palestinians are descendants of the ancient Canaanite inhabitants of the land, the schoolbooks still present Arabs as the original population of the territory.

The report also reviewed textbooks intended for grades 11-12 to reassess the worldview the Palestinian education system presents to teens graduating from high school.

According to the IMPACT-se report, textbooks for the last grades of school commemorate the Palestinians’ struggle against Israel both before and after the establishment of the PLO.

The textbooks highlight the failed 1974 program to conquer the Land of Israel from the Jews in phases, the so called “phased program.” They advocate violence as the most effective way for the Palestinians to reach their goals and the concept of “eternal war” against the Jews, despite the abject failure of all such past attempts.

The books for older students contain no empathy for any “others,” nor any mention of past examples where Palestinians and Israelis cooperated in a variety of activities.


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