Israel Resource Review 10th April, 2000


Why Do Children Learn the Art of War During the Peace Process:
A Review of the Palestinian Authority's Teacher's Guide
David Bedein

On the day that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak was en route to Washington to meet with President Bill Clinton to revive the peace process with the Palestinian Authority, the "Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace" issued a study of the new Palestinian Authority's teacher's guide, which serves as the new official guide that PA teachers are required to use in their schools.

(The Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace, located in Jerusalem, translates Arabic language newspapers and textbooks, posts this and and its other reports at, and provides data for the trilateral American-Israeli-Palestinian commission that was formed to monitor allegations of incitement.)

The Center's premise is that without peace education, you cannot have peace. For that reason, Israel pioneered a curriculum for peace, a program now in its seventh year, reaching Israeli pupils from all walks of life.

The Palestinian Authority, on the other hand, has maintained a rigid curriculum that continues to call for liberation of all of Palestine, while describing Israel, Jews, and Zionism in the most demonic of terms. PA officials say in their defense that these are the books that they get from Jordan and from Egypt.

What PA officials forget to mention is that Israel had deleted the "offensive" sections of the Jordanian and Egyptian textbooks when Israel ruled the west bank and Gaza, and that the Palestinian Authority has reinstated those deletions.

Many people held out hope that all this would change.

In the words of senior Israeli cabinet minister Shimon Peres, who addressed the International Conference of the Jewish media this past February, "We look forward to seeing a new textbooks for peace in the Palestinian Authority".

Not so, according to Itamar Marcus, the research director of the center that issued this comprehensive nineteen page study of the Palestine Authority's Teacher's Guide, which reads more like a war manual than an educator's tool.

Some Selections From the PA Teacher's Guide

PA teachers are required to prepare their students for a Jihad (holy war) to liberate all of Palestine and to "cherish the Jihad fighters who quench the earth of Jerusalem with their blood".

Palestinian Authority students are to asked to emulate the efforts of Saladin, who liberated Jerusalem from the Crusaders conquest.

PA teachers are to refer to Israel as the "Zionist occupier", in the context of "racism and Nazism".

PA teachers are to instill in their students with the idea that "Jews are dangerous enemies of Allah, Islam and the Arab nation".

PA teachers are to teach Zionism as an example of European imperialism, whose aim is "the elimination of the original inhabitants of Palestine".

PA teachers are to distribute a text entitled "The Jewish danger in Palestine".

PA teachers are asked to define Jews in terms of their racial and religious zealotry, and to explain that this is why Jews were persecuted over the years by the Christian world.

Meanwhile, the new historical texts of the Palestinian Authority, define Israel as a "thieving conquerer", while the only map of Palestine in the new textbooks of the Palestinian Authority eliminates the state of Israel, while Israeli cities like Haifa, Jaffa, Beersheva, and the entire Galil and Negev are termed Palestinian cities.

After our news agency received this Palestinian Authority teacher's guide, I visited the Palestinian Ministry of Education near Ramallah, where I was received in a courteous fashion.

I asked a senior PA education official there if the PA would delete material that Israel considered to be offensive. The answer, delivered in a soft, firm tone by a senior official of the PA was clear: "We are sovereign and we will determine what we will teach our children, without any interference".

Meanwhile, the US consul in Jerusalem, Mr. John Herbst, announced that the USAID would increase its support of Palestinian education with an additional $10 Million of assistance.

The question remains: How does this kind of education jive with a peace process?

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Special Report
Syria, Lebanon Trying to Stymie UN Help in Israeli Pullout
by Steve Rodan
Editor, Middle East News Line

Lebanon and Syria are trying to stymie United Nations cooperation for an Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon.

Lebanon and Syria have set tough terms for an expanded UN peacekeeping presence in Lebanon in the wake of any Israeli pullout. The terms were relayed in a letter to U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan from Lebanese President Emile Lahoud.

Among the conditions set in Lahoud's letter were that U.N. forces help in disarming Palestinian fighters and that the world body guarantee Lebanon's sovereignty. In a meeting with UN coordinator for the Middle East peace process Terji Larsen, Lahoud demanded that the UN help to prevent Israel from violating Lebanese airspace and waters.

Israeli officials said Lahoud's demands were dictate by Syria, which has 35,000 troops in Lebanon. On April 6, Larsen met Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk A-Shaara on Israeli plans for a withdrawal.

Annan has expressed his intention to cooperate with an Israeli withdrawal during a meeting in Geneva with Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy. This could include bolstering UN forces in southern Lebanon.

In Beirut, Lebanese Prime Minister Salim Hoss said he did not believe Israel's intentions to withdraw from Lebanon. "We will be wary regarding this new situation because we don't trust Israel and its conspiracies, as we are used to its deceptions," Hoss said.

In Damascus, the Syrian A-Thawra daily on April 6 said the Israeli plans to withdraw from Lebanon is a "maneuver meant to continue occupation."

The Iranian-backed Hizbullah has refused to rule out attacks on Israel even after it withdraws from Lebanon. Hizbullah deputy secretary-general Naim Kassem raised the prospect that the Shi'ite militia would seek to defend the Palestinians.

"Even in the case of a total Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon," Kassem said, "there will not be either guarantees, or security arrangements because the enemy continues to drive the Palestinians from their land and occupy the Golan and Jerusalem."

Hours later, Hizbullah gunners opened fire on Israeli and South Lebanese Army positions in southern Lebanon. The shelling continued for much of Wednesday. No casualties were reported.

Assad, Mubarak Again Discuss Suspended Peace Talks

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has discussed the suspended Israeli-Syrian negotiations with Syrian President Hafez Assad for the second time in less than a week.

Mubarak telephoned Assad in what diplomatic sources said was a U.S.-inspired Egyptian initiative to persuade the Syrian president to resume peace negotiations with Israel. The sources said President Bill Clinton urged Mubarak to urge Assad to reconsider his refusal for a compromise on his demand for control of the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River, two waterways now under Israeli rule.

The Syrian news agency SANA reported that Assad and Mubarak discussed on the evening of April 4 "the Arab situation in general and the latest developments in the peace process."

Diplomatic sources said the flurry of phone calls was part of Mubarak's plans to meet Assad in Damascus over the weekend. The sources said Assad appears to have withheld his agreement for such a meeting.

The preparations for the summit have been mired in confusion. The Egyptian Information Ministry announced that Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk A-Shaara would visit Cairo Wednesday.

At first, SANA confirmed the report. Later, the agency said the visit was being postponed. On Wednesday, Egyptian officials verified that A-Shaara cancelled the visit.

U.S. officials are monitoring Mubarak's efforts. In Amman, U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen expressed Israeli and U.S. disappointment over Assad's refusal to resume peace efforts.

"[Israeli] Prime Minister [Ehud] Barak was obviously disappointed," Cohen said. "President [Bill] Clinton has been disappointed because they had hoped that President Assad would in fact respond positively and that did not occur. So it was a great disappointment. I think there is still hope, that somehow others can persuade President Assad that this is an opportunity he should take advantage of, but as President Clinton has said, the ball is very much in the Syria's court today."

In Jerusalem, several senior Israeli officials acknowledged that they were too optimistic over Assad's willingness to make peace with Israel. "Nobody knows what is in Assad's mind," Regional Cooperation Minister Shimon Peres said.

Eye on Syria a Timely Review of the Official Syrian Media
Week of April 10, 2000

Syrian Blames Israel for Death of Peace Process

Damascus is blaming Israel for a halt in the peace process.

Official Syrian newspapers and radio stations blamed Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak for the failure of the peace negotiations between the two countries.

"There was never such a gloomy atmosphere in the Middle East because of Israeli policy," the Al Baath daily said on April 12.

Earlier, Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk A-Sharaa did not issue a similar assessment during a visit to Madrid. But Syria's official media changed its tone following the Barak meeting with President Bill Clinton in Washington on April 11.

"We didn't consider the option that Barak would come to the Washington summit with an olive branch but no one thought that he was bringing with him an end to peace while he beats on the war drums," Al Baath said. "He has fired the lost shot in the peace process. By increasing the settlements on the Golan, Israel is beating on the war drums. Don't expect Syria to appease Israel."

On April 13, Al Baath daily said Syria could wait years to ensure that its rights are achieved. This, the newspaper said, includes territorial and water rights to the Sea of Galilee.

The Syrian media also blamed the United States for towing the line of the Israeli propaganda and not being a fair intermediary.

"The United States must avoid the collapse of the peace process before it's too late," the Al Thawra daily said on April 12.

Damascus Radio criticized Israel for escalating attacks on southern Lebanon. "Israeli policy is placing the Middle East in a position of facing dangerous alternatives and the responsibility will fall on the United States and Israel if the peace process fails," a commentary said.

The radio said that Clinton's meeting with President Hafez Assad in Geneva on March 26 was a failure. "The ideas brought by the American side to Geneva summit were humiliating," the radio said.

Bashar Tries to Lead Syria on Internet

The son and heir-apparent of Syrian President Hafez Assad wants to be a pioneer of the internet in one of the most closed societies in the Arab world.

Bashar Assad has agreed to participate in a Lebanese-Syrian symposium on the development of the Internet and data technology. The seminar is being organized by the Bashar-headed Syrian Scientific Association for Data.

The government daily Tishrin reported on April 10 that the cosponsor is the Lebanese Assembly for Data. Syria has pressed Lebanon, which has 35,000 Syrian troops, to cooperate on all infrastructure programs. Lebanon is far more advanced than Syria in Internet usage.

The seminar will be held in both Damascus and Beirut starting on April 25. At the same time, Damascus will convene an exhibition Sham 2000, which will deal with technology and data.

Officials said the symposium will discuss data technology and communications, the computer industry and training for young Lebanese and Syrians.

Syria Admits to Halt in Economic Growth

Syria plans to establish industrial zones in major cities as part of the new government's economic reform policy as officials have acknowledged to a halt in growth.

Officials said the industrial zones will be funded and established in Damascus, Aleppo and Homs. They said the zones are meant to increase investment in Syria, which has decreased over the last five years.

The most drastic decline was in 1998 when private investment decreased from 17.4 percent to 8.5 percent. Syrian newspapers said on April 6 that said this led to a halt in economic growth.

Officials have urged Syrian expatriates to invest their money in the new zones. They pointed to a free trade agreement with the United Arab Emirates as well as the launching of free trade zones with Jordan. The zones will be located along the border of the two countries.

A-Shaara Rules Out International Court With Israel

Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk A-Sharaa has ruled out the prospect of taking the dispute with Israel over the Sea of Galilee to the international court in the Hague.

A-Shaara termed as "media delusion" reports that the issue between Syria and Israel over the Golan Heights would be taken to international arbitration. Instead, he said Israel must withdraw from the Golan Heights.

The Syrian Arab News Agency said on April 1, in remarks reported in all Syrian newspapers the following day, that A-Shaara urged Arab ambassador to Damascus not to fall into the "trap of media delusion launched by some newspapers over turning the subject to the international law court. Israel's full withdrawal from occupied Golan Heights until June 4 borderline is an Arab and just request as well as a legitimate right ratified by the Arab summits and the international legitimacy. Syria is still committed to full rights in accordance to these resolutions and principals and will carry on efforts to reach to the just and honorable peace that would guarantee the legitimate right to restore Syrian territories."

Israeli Society Immature to Make Peace

Damascus radio Israeli society is not sufficiently mature to achieve just and comprehensive peace decision.

The radio, in an April 1 commentary, said the government of Prime Minister Ehud Barak is unable to make peace.

"The peace that is based on justice and comprehensiveness requires a total Israeli withdrawal from Golan and south Lebanon as well as the occupied Arab territories in addition to full adherence to the international legitimacy resolutions," the radio said.

In its daily commentary, the radio said the Israelis were delaying, playing games while asking others to concede over land, water and security. The radio said this would doom the peace process.

The radio pledged Syria was still honest in seeking peace as a strategic choice but that would be only when its land and rights are restored.

"The international community bear total responsibility atop of it comes the United States in order not to waste the historical peace chance just because Israel does not want to make the just and comprehensive peace," the radio said.

Syria Admits to Failure of Geneva Meeting

Syria has admitted that the March 26 summit between President Hafez Assad and U.S. President Bill Clinton was a failure.

Mohammed Khair Jamali wrote in the Al Thawra daily that the summit fell short of hopes. Still, he wrote, the summit was still important for Syria. Damascus still clings to peace as a strategic choice while clinging to its rejection of any haggling of land or rights.

Jamali said on March 31 that Israel demonstrated its escape from peace. He cited Prime Minister Ehud Barak's evasion of a Syrian demand for a full withdrawal from the Golan Heights.

"The Israeli governments including Barak's one seeks to exploit these pretexts on the expense of the Arab national security and rights," the newspaper said.

Jamili said Barak should have supported his optimism of the summit by declaring "his frank commitment to the total withdrawal from Golan to June 4,1967 borderlines. He would also declare his acceptance of the borders demarcation according to the principle included in the international law. If Barak did so during the talk phone with the American president, Bill Clinton from Geneva after the first prolonged session of the Syrian-American summit, peace would be at two bows length or less from the realization if not actually started its first steps."

Israel, Jamali said, shoulders alone the responsibility of the results of the summit, which don't create optimism of the peace forthcoming to the region. The cause beyond this matter was due to the fact that the expected shift in the Israeli policy hadn't realized yet to produce a change in the Syrian-American summit."

Al Thawra editor Amid Khouli said Syria expected that Clinton would carry a U.S. guarantee to implement an Israeli frank statement with no doubt or political equivocation about the withdrawal to June 4 border. Instead, Assad found himself facing Israeli rejection of Syrian positions.

"We didn't have delusions about the possibilities of the ideological change in the Israeli mentality, but we didn't expect also that there is nothing new in the Israeli mentality," Khouli said. "Moreover, we didn't expect that the American stance didn't deal with this Israeli stubborn and disgusting case by such hesitation to the level of disability to reject the Israeli arrogance in regard of refusing the American peace."

Senior PA Official Warns of Violence

GAZA [MENL] -- A senior Palestinian Authority official has warned of an armed uprising unless Israel grants the Palestinians their rights.

PA Cabinet secretary Ahmed Abdul Rahman told a forum in Gaza on April 10 that Israel faces a new and more dangerous intifada, or uprising, if the Palestinians are denied their national rights. He pointed to a deadlock in final status talks between Israel and the PA on such issues as the future of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees and Jewish settlements.

Abdul Rahim, speaking to the Palestinian Legislative Council's political committee in Gaza, said a new uprising would "not just be with rocks," a reference to the 1987 Palestinian resistance to Israeli rule in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Instead, he suggested that the violence would be similar to the 1996 PA-led unrest in which hundreds of Palestinian police officers participated.

Nearly 100 Palestinians and 15 Israeli soldiers were killed in the clashes.

Israel and the PA set a May deadline for concluding the framework agreement of a final status accord. But PA sources said the target date would not be met.

PA Reduces Power of Courts

The Palestinian Authority is whittling away the power of the judiciary and is establishing special courts on both security and civilian issues.

PA sources said cases meant for the civilian court system are being routed to the special State Security Court directly controlled by PA Chairman Yasser Arafat. This includes disputes regarding land ownership taxation, drugs and debts.

Arafat, the sources, has failed to heed appeals by Palestinian legislators, Western diplomats and human rights groups to disband the security court. Instead, the sources said, the security court has become the leading arbiter of justice in the PA.

Sessions of the court are held in-camera and cannot be appealed.

LAW, the Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and Environment, expressed concern over what it termed the "poor conditions of the judicial authority." The group said PA governors have been examining cases that are supposed to under the jurisdiction of the courts.

"Moreover, a committee has recently been established in the Bethlehem district for examining land dispute cases," the group said. "It has issued a number of rulings not subject to appeal or contest. No such committee has ever been established anywhere else in the world."

LAW warned that the Palestinian judiciary is in danger of collapse, particularly in the West Bank. The group said judges are divided into those who support either the PA or the court system. West Bank judges, angered by the transfer of many of them, have been on strike for more than two months.

For his part, PA Justice Minister Freih Abu Medein has appointed inexperienced prosecutors and has failed to announce the move, LAW said. The group said some areas of the West Bank are understaffed with court personnel and prosecutors. One example is in Hebron, which only has one prosecutor for a population of 500,000.

In contrast, the Ramallah court has six prosecutors and Jericho -- with a population of 40,000 -- has three judges.

PA Turns Down Offer for Refugee Settlement

The Palestinian Authority has rejected a reported offer by Canada to resettle 15,000 Palestinian refugees.

But Canadian diplomats said the offer was never presented.

PA sources said the offer was made by Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien during his talks in Israel and the PA this week. The sources said the offer was rejected and PA Chairman Yasser Arafat insisted that Palestinian refugees be allowed to return to their homes in what is now Israel.

An aide to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak said Chretien had agreed to absorb the refugees as part of an international effort to resolve the refugee problem. Chretian was the first leader to make such an offer.

The aide said Barak said Israel would refuse any resettlement of the refugees in the Jewish state.

On April 13, the PLO official responsible for refugees, Assad Abdul Rahman, said the Palestinians reject the Canadian offer. He said that the Palestinians should be able to return to Haifa, Jerusalem and Jaffa according to UN General Assembly resolution 194.

Canada is host to multilateral talks on refugees. On April 13, Canada's envoy to the PA, Tim Martin, denied that Chretien made such an offer.

"Canada has not presented any ideas for a settlement of the refugee problem," Martin told PA radio. "We believe that that should come from the parties themselves."

PA Plans to Wage Fight Against New Israeli Housing

The Palestinian Authority said it plans to oppose Israeli attempts to construct new housing in the West Bank.

PA officials said they will recruit domestic and international support to stop plans to build a new neighborhood in Efrat south of Bethlehem as well as in Har Gilo south of Jerusalem.

On April 13, PA Information Minister Yasser Abbed Rabbo told the Voice of Palestinie he could not report any progress in current negotiations with the Palestinians near Washington. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are discussing interim and final status issues in sessions sponsored by the United States.

In Hebron, Palestinian sources said Israeli military authorities have informed Arab residents that they plan to demolish the homes of eight families near Beit Omar. The authorities said the homes were built without a license.

PA Introduces New Rules on Charities

The Palestinian Authority has issued new regulations regarding the administration of charities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Under the regulations, the PA must approve any donation of more than 1,000 Jordanian dinars, or $1,420. Another rule requires that the charities must give the PA 10 percent of all donations.

Charity committees, or zakat, have been established in every town in the PA territories. They are used to maintain mosques and help the poor and ill.

PA officials suspect that the charity committees help fund Islamic terrorist attacks and the infrastructure of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Opposition sources said Israel has urged the PA to restrict the committees.

PA Chairman Yasser Arafat has asked donor countries for hundreds of millions of dollars to improve social services.

PLO Reviews New Elections

The PLO is under barrage from opposition groups that want new elections for the Palestinian National Council before Yasser Arafat declares statehood.

Palestinian opposition groups have warned that they will not honor any Arafat declaration unless it is preceded by new elections at the PNC and a discussion of Palestinian goals.

Hamas said it will oppose Palestinian statehood declared by Arafat unless a reconstituted PNC can set the terms for a declaration of independence. Hamas spokesman Abdul Aziz Rentisi said any Arafat declaration would be stem from the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian agreement at Oslo, an accord opposed by the Islamic group.

On April 13, PNC chairman Salim Zaanoun was scheduled to convene the ruling Fatah movement and opposition groups to discuss elections to the council. Zaanoun said many members are either dead or no longer active.

It is unclear how many groups will attend the session in Ramallah. Hamas said it was not invited.

Arafat has pledged to declare a state on Sept. 13 regardless of Israeli consent.

Palestinian Children Face Rising Poverty

The Palestinian Authority says Palestinian children face increasing poverty.

A PA report reported in Palestinian newspapers and radio on April 7 predicted that 3.2 million Palestinians are living under the poverty line. Of this figure, 53 percent are under 18.

The PA Central Bureau of Statistics 63 percent of the poor live in Gaza. The bureau cited rising a Palestinian birthrate -- from 3.97 percent to 4.18 percent.

At the same time, the PA reports increased educational enrollment.

"The ideas brought by the American side to Geneva summit were humiliating," said Radio Damascus, according to Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) Tuesday. They have "represented a retreat from [former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin's deposit," to theoretically withdraw from the Israeli occupied Syrian Golan Heights to the lines of 4 June 1967.

In Geneva summit between President William J. Clinton and Syrian President Hafez al-Assad on March 26, that position has "constituted an obstacle before the summit's success as to push the peace process forward."

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The Israeli Arabs and the Palestinian Authority Ultimatums in Perspective
by Aaron Lerner

A troubling poll result

Instead of telling you what I think Israeli Arabs think, I would like to share with you what a representative sample of 500 Israeli Arabs told pollsters last November in a survey carried out by Dr. Assad Ganem of the Institute For Peace Studies at Givat Haviva.

Which of the following options would you choose as a solution to the problem of the Arabs in Israel?

24.8% Replace Israel with a Palestinian state.

62.2% Israel ceases to be a Jewish Zionist state and the Jews and Arabs will be recognized as different groups.

8.2% Israel will continue to be a Jewish Zionist state and Arabs in Israel will enjoy democratic rights and receive their relative share in the budgets and manage their educational, religious and cultural institutions.

That's right. The overwhelming majority of Israeli Arab REJECT Israel continuing to be a Jewish Zionist state EVEN if they enjoy democratic rights and receive their relative share in the budgets and manage their educational, religious and cultural institutions. This in no way means that the Israeli Arabs should not enjoy democratic rights or their fair share. The survey however does indicate, and I say this with a heavy heart, that this will not satisfy them.

The five "Nos"

In the official negotiations taking place in the States, the PA has presented a document laying out it's five "red lines," an apparent response to recent statements by Barak in support of annexing settlements. The document was described in the Palestinian press as the "Five Nos" - a play on the infamous "three nos" after the 1967 Six-Day War. The PA demands that Israel withdraw to the June 4, 1967 borders, including from east Jerusalem. The PA will not accept any Jewish settlements, nor will it put off discussion of any of the final-status issues like Jerusalem and refugees, or accept a partial framework deal. The document also rejects any solution that would accommodate Palestinian refugees outside their homeland, and rejects any Israeli military presence inside the Palestinian state (eg. No Israeli presence on the Jordan River).

The Palestinians complain that there has been no progress in the talks because Israel hasn't bowed to the 5 Nos.

The Palestinians make it clear that if they do not get what they want via negotiations that they will pursue other goals via other means.

And the Israeli response? Israel recently transferred another 200 assault rifles to the PA and another 100 are on the way.

The Palestinians speak with a clear voice and all I hear from our government is mumbling about "hard sacrifices" and "difficult decisions".

When it comes to domestic policies, Barak's clumsy poor planning and administration is plainly obvious because our economy and society in general is already paying a dear price in the form of crippling stupid job actions, unemployment and a mindless series of emergency measures - some of which will actually increase rather than decrease unemployment.

In many ways the fog that surrounds negotiations with the Arabs makes it a far more friendly environment for the incompetent since the glaring mistakes may only really become known to the public at the end of the talks. As long as the ball is still in the air there is always room for the benefit of doubt that maybe - just maybe - what may be reckless stupidity is actually a carefully designed maneuver.

One thing is certain: That it is incumbent on the Barak Administration to get the message out that the PA's Five Nos are the true obstacles to peace. President Clinton should understand that all the American bridge proposals in the world can't deliver Arafat even one of his Five Nos.

Dr. Aaron Lerner,
Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
P.O.BOX 982 Kfar Sava
Tel: (+972-9) 760-4719
Fax: (+972-9) 741-1645

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