|Israel Resource Review
||26th November, 2001
The Continuing EU Role in PA Education
Dr. Daphne Burdman
Herb Keinon's Jerusalem Post news report of November 2, 2001, indicating that "E.U. money has been used for Palestinian textbooks", was refuted by Ambassador Giancarlo Chevallard (Head of the Delegation of the European Commission) in his letter of November 9) Although this is technically correct, (the money for the textbooks per se deriving from a group of individual "donor nations" of Europe and not from the EU Commission), it is equally true that EU funding is supporting didactic methods to disseminate anti- Israel messages which incite to violence and negate the existence of the State of Israel.
It is clear that there has been a lack of supervision of the Palestinian curricula on the part of the EU, and until recently , on the part of the donor nations. Efforts to bring this to the attention of the Commissioner for External Affairs of the European Union, Christopher Patten, were a failure.
During an interview conducted with Jean Breteche the Representative of the European Union for the West Bank and Gaza Strip areas, by myself in conjunction with the Center for Near East Policy Research , we specifically asked about textbook funding. Breteche told us that the European Union does not fund Palestinian Authority textbooks.
He went on to emphasize, however, that funding of Palestinian education is a major mandate for the EU, the large sums of money provided to the P.A. to be used for "infrastructure", such as building schools, training teachers, etc.
It is known that PA teacher training incorporates the use of teachers' guidebooks as translated by the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace (for Palestinian Media Watch), and shown to be filled with specific instruction as to how to teach the same incitement laden material which appears in the Palestinian textbooks.
I had previously corresponded directly (July 2000) with Commissioner Patten, providing ample documentation both of textbook incitement, and also of European policy of total autonomy for a developing nation receiving aid, as laid out in "Education: a basic human right: development cooperation and basic education: policy, practice and implementation", a program created by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Dutch Government for the EU.
Commissioner Patten's response to me stated that the European Commission does not run the development programs of the EU Members States, and that in view of our concern regarding the textbooks, we should address ourselves directly to these European member states.
This we had already done, as I had indicated to him. Consequent to our inputs with the individual donor nations funding the textbooks, the Italian Consulate representatives agreed to monitor the books, and thereafter canceled the 5 million dollar grant to the PA for the textbooks, as has the Vatican, while there are indications that the World Bank has also cut funding.
It is to be noted that the new PA textbooks introduced September 2000, while lacking specific exhortations to violence, still negate the existence of the state of Israel, claim all areas of Israel to be Palestine, praise Izzadim-al-Khassam, the hero of Hamas, as a Palestinian hero, and in population statistics omit Jews but include Israeli Arabs, West Bank and Gaza Palestinians and "Diaspora" Palestinians for a total figure of more than 8 million Palestinians in "Palestine" by which they mean the combined geographic areas of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Additionally most of the prior textbooks with overt incitement are yet to be replaced, and are in continuing use.
In answer to a further urgent letter to Patten in October 2000 after the start of the current Intifada, requesting names of those within the European Commission or the European Parliament who might have a brief regarding Palestinian education, I received a further similar response to the effect that . . . . "the European Commission is not itself competent to modify the Palestinian curricula, nor is it responsible for development programs of EU Member States." . . . . . Patten gave me no names of others I might contact, in this regard.
Of importance to note is that currently, the official Palestinian television media have stepped up an emotionally laden drive directed at Palestinian children exhorting them to Martyrdom for the Palestinian cause against Israel.
While Chevallard states that the EU regularly supports "projects supporting peace, understanding, reconciliation . . . . .", these projects (as outlined to me by Patten) consist of support of People to People projects including Palestinian-Israeli youth dialogues, (which according to moderate Palestinians have been a no-go for some time), and referral to the Trilateral Commission against Incitement to Violence, (which has not met for more than two years).
The hope for the success of any upcoming peace treaty with the Palestinians lies with terminating the incessant brainwashing of Palestinians and its youth. It is a duty incumbent upon the European Union to seriously address this matter instead of indulging in euphemistic exercises which obfuscate its current policies.
friendly version of this article
Return to Contents
New School Books Omit Israel: New Report on PA l School Textbooks
Mathew Kalman, Southam News and Reinhard Krause, Reuters
JERUSALEM - A new range of textbooks used in Canadian-funded Palestinian schools has failed to fulfill promises to the international community to modify Palestinian hostility to the Jewish presence in Israel and promote peace in education
According to 58 new textbooks and two teachers' guides for grades 1, 2, 6, 7 and 11 published in the past two years by the Palestinian Authority, Israel does not exist -- nor does the concept of peace, a U.S. study has found.
Children are encouraged from the earliest school age to hate Israelis, glorify "martyrs" and seek the "liberation" of all of Palestine, including Israel.
The analysis of the textbooks, published this week, was carried out by the New York-based Center for Monitoring Impact of Peace (CMIP), a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging a climate of tolerance and mutual respect between peoples and nations.
The study reveals the Palestinian Authority (PA) has removed some anti- Semitic stereotypes that were featured prominently in Jordanian and Egyptian textbooks previously used in the West Bank and Gaza, but no positive or even neutral images of Jews and Israelis have been introduced.
"The PA curriculum does not teach the acceptance of Israel's existence and instead of working to erase hateful stereotypes, it is instilling them into the next generation's consciousness," said Yohanan Manor, CMIP's vice-chairman.
When presented with the report's main findings, a spokes- man for the Palestinian Education Ministry, which published the textbooks, refused to comment. "I have nothing to say about this," he said.
The new textbooks are being used throughout the Palestinian-controlled areas in the West Bank and Gaza in 1,300 schools administered by the Palestinian Authority and 261 run by the United Nations Relief & Works Agency (UNRWA).
Since 1993, Canada has contributed $165-million in direct aid to Palestinian development programs, including education, plus a further $10-million annually to UNRWA.
An additional grant of $5-million, announced in May by John Manley, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, is about to be distributed through the World Bank to a series of projects, including new schools and libraries.
The offensive textbook material has been included despite commitments made by the Palestinian Authority in the May, 1994, Cairo Agreement, where both parties undertook to "ensure that their educational systems contribute to the peace between Israel and the Palestinian people."
"Incitement in Palestinian media and schools betrays any interest in peace and must come to an end if Palestinians are to be credible as partners for peace-making," Dennis Ross, a former U.S. Middle East envoy, wrote this week.
While there is recognition in the Palestinian textbooks of a sovereign Jewish state under King David in ancient times, the modern state of Israel is never shown. Every map in every subject -- from Grade 2 math to Grade 7 geography -- marks the entire area of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza as Palestine and fails to show any modern Israeli cities such as Tel Aviv or Hadera.
The Oslo peace process, which brought the Palestinian Authority into existence, is hardly mentioned and nowhere is the idea of peace with Israel promoted.
A similar report by CMIP a year ago on 360 textbooks used in Israeli schools found dozens of examples where Israeli children were being taught to recognize Palestinian claims and problems and where an effort was made "to prepare the younger generation for openness and peace.
"Islam, the Arab culture and the Arabs' contribution to human civilization are presented in a positive light," the report on Israeli textbooks found.
"No book calls for violence or war. Many books express the yearning for peace between Israel and the Arab countries."
Mr. Manor said CMIP did find some isolated examples of "prejudice, patronizing expressions and disrespect to Arabs" in books used in ultra- orthodox Israeli schools and the organization raised objections with representatives of those educational systems.
But the Palestinian textbooks are replete with images of violence and hatred in all contexts, reinforcing negative views of Israelis even in subjects far removed from history or politics, the new study found.
A Grade 2 language textbook prompts young children to describe a series of brightly coloured pictures in which Israelis uproot trees, expel Palestinians and destroy their houses. A Grade 1 science book illustrates a magnifying glass by enlarging a text which reads "Palestine is Arab."
Mr. Manor expressed particular concern at the representation of Jews and the Hebrew language and their connection to the Holy Land.
Jewish immigration to Palestine since the 16th century is described in negative terms as "infiltration" and Hebrew is referred to as a dialect rather than a language.
A Grade 7 "national education" textbook lists Christian and Muslim holy places in Palestine but no Jewish ones.
The same book refers to "the attempt to Judaize some of the Muslim religious places" such as the Western Wall in Jerusalem and the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron -- both were built by the Jewish King Herod
A population table for Palestine in a Grade 6 National Education textbook lists 1.9 million people on the West Bank, 1.1 million in Gaza, 1.1 million "Palestinians of the Interior" (i.e. Israeli Arabs) and 4.4 million "Palestinians of the Diaspora." The five million Jews living in Israel are not mentioned at all.
This article ran in the National Post
of Canada on November 25th, 2001
friendly version of this article
Return to Contents
Executive Summary: The Report of the New Palestinian Authority School Books
Following is a summary of the findings of a survey conducted by the Center
for Monitoring the Impact of Peace, of the new Palestinian Authority
The findings were presented at a press conference held on November 21, 2001
in Jerusalem, by the Chairman of the Center, Mr. Andre Marcus
and the Vice-Chairman, Dr. Yohanan Manor: In the two academic years 2000-2001 and 2001-2002, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) introduced 58 new textbooks and two teachers' guides for grades 1,2,6,7 and 11. CMIP has conducted a comprehensive survey of these textbooks in order to determine how they relate to peace, tolerance, recognition and reconciliation according to criteria set by the international community.
CMIP has found that the new PNA textbooks do not fulfill these criteria in
educating to peace and reconciliation with Israel, but rather foster a
multi-faceted rejection of its existence. The educational approach employed
by the PNA does not reflect international standards as defined by UNESCO.
The textbooks do not teach acceptance of Israel's existence on the national
level, and instead of working to erase hateful stereotypes, the new PNA
curriculum is instilling them into the next generation's consciousness.
The concept of peace with Israel is not to be found anywhere in the
The peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, based on the Oslo Accords, is not mentioned.
They fail to teach the youth to see Israel as a neighbor with whom peaceful relations should be desired.
Tolerance, both in a historical and a contemporary context, is addressed
at length in the Palestinian textbooks.
It is described as being based on Islam's traditional approach of "accepting the members of the monotheistic religions" and "respecting the People of the Book in their religion,property and ceremonies".
However, in their examples, the textbooks refer only to tolerance between Moslems and Christians.
The Jews are not mentioned. The Jewish connection to the Holy Land is confined to antiquity.
From the Roman period onwards this Jewish link is ignored. The Jews' return to Palestine is described as "infiltration". Zionism is mentioned in a negative context only.
The Jews are not "deserving" of Palestine. Hebrew is not considered one of the languages of the land.
The State of Israel, a member state of the UN since 1949, is not
It is referred to by substitute names such as the lands within the "green line", "interior" or "1948 lands". Its name does not appear on any map, nor do any towns, villages and projects (industries, harbors, railways, etc.) created and developed by Israel.
Israel is presented as the usurper and occupier since its establishment in 1948.
By contrast, the State of Palestine (Dawlat Filastin) is often referred to
and its name appears with the official emblem of the Palestinian National
Authority, on the cover and the front page of many textbooks. Palestine
stretches from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea and is exclusively
The 5.5 million Jewish inhabitants are not counted.
The maps that appear in the textbooks continue to disregard the existence
of the State of Israel.
In most cases no names are given at all. In other cases Israel's place on the map is marked "Palestine". There are several maps that delineate the contours of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip but do not name them.
Areas located in the territory of Israel within its 1949 borders, such as the Negev, are presented as an integral part of Palestine.
The Arab population of Israel is counted among the inhabitants of Palestine.
Jerusalem is presented as belonging to the Palestinians alone, and as the
capital of Palestine.
Its central importance and holiness for the Jews are not mentioned, neither is the fact that the Jewish population constitutes the vast majority of its inhabitants.
The holy places in Palestine are exclusively Muslim and Christian.
There is no reference to Jewish holy places as such. Rather, they are presented as Muslim holy places that the Jews have attempted to Judaize, such as the "Tomb of the Patriarchs" in Hebron, "the Western Wall" a.k.a. "the Wailing Wall", in Jerusalem, and "Rachel's Tomb" in Bethlehem.
There are a series of references to the liberation of Palestine, presented
as a struggle against Israeli occupation. At times, the liberation from
Israeli occupation points to the territories of the West Bank and the Gaza
Strip occupied by Israel in 1967.
Sometimes this expression refers to the territory of the State of Israel, within its 1949 borders.
There is an explicit reference to the Israeli occupation of 1948 and another to the need to establish an independent Palestinian state on the entire national soil.
The struggle for the liberation of Palestine is presented mainly as a
There is no direct support of terror in the textbooks, but the
Feda'i and the Shahid are praised as the spearheads of this struggle.
Palestinians hanged by British Mandate authorities for murders of Jewish
civilians are presented as Shahids.
Those arrested and jailed in Israeli jails for acts of terrorism against Israeli civilians are depicted as "prisoners of war".
Jihad continues to be glorified and martyrdom is praised, with special attention given to the martyrs of Palestine.
There is no attempt to encourage reconciliation with Israel.
Israel is presented exclusively as inhumane and greedy. It has destroyed the
Palestinian villages, driven them away, seized their lands and water,
inflicted on them pain and loss, taken over their holy places.
Israel is responsible for the obliteration of Palestinian Arab national identity, the crippling of Palestinian economy, and for social and ecological ills.
Israel is accused of being responsible for the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem, with no consideration being given to the consequences of the Arab and Palestinian rejection of the 1947 UN Partition Plan. The solution to this problem presented in PNA textbooks is "the return of every
refugee" to his former home, i.e. to the territory of the State of Israel
within its 1949 borders.
Although bilateral treaties and accords have determined the allocation of
land and water between Israel and the Palestinians by mutual agreement, (The
Israeli-Palestinian Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, 1995,
Article XI and Appendix I article 40,and the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty
1994, Annex II.). Israel is accused of robbing the lands and waters from the
Reference to the Jews is minimal.
Although their historical connections to Palestine are mentioned, these references do not provide the pupils with at least a basic knowledge of Jews and Judaism, as one of the three monotheistic religions.
Several of these references, however, contain negative generalizations attributing traits of trickery, greed and barbarity to the Jews, and insinuation that they do not keep agreements and treaties as Muslims do. Accusations of racial discrimination that were leveled
against Israel in a textbook published in 1995 have since been removed (in
1996 and 2000).
Inaccuracies in determining and presenting historical facts appear in
several instances, particularly in the textbooks of Grade 7. For example,
statements such as: "[Israeli] attempts at obliterating the artistic
[Palestinian] heritage: .Setting fire to the antique pulpit of Saladin in
the al-Aqsa Mosque." (National Education, Grade 7, p. 55).
"The Arab Jebusites built it [Jerusalem] five thousand years ago
in that distinguished place and it has remained since that time
a capital of Palestine during the ages." (Geography of
Palestine, Grade 7, p. 77) are to be found in the textbooks, as
well as the falsification of a stamp issued by the British
The Palestinian textbooks use terminology that is associated with war and
violence and is likely to create prejudice,misunderstanding and conflict,
such as: "The demographic weapon" will play "a positive role in winning the
Arab-Israeli conflict" (The Palestinian Society-Demographic Education, Grade
11 (2000), p. 29), and :"The coming of the Jewish throngs to Palestine
continued until 1948 and their goal was taking over the Palestinian lands
and then taking the original inhabitants' place after their expulsion or
extermination." (National Education, Grade 7, p. 20)
The tendency towards educating pupils to reject and delegitimize Israel that was prevalent in the PNA textbooks of 2000-2001 has not been addressed
in the new textbooks.
Instead, it appears to have gained impetus through instilling animosity and the implicit aspiration to replace the State of Israel with the State of Palestine.
The website for the Center for the Monitoring the
Impact of Peace is www.edume.org.
friendly version of this article
Return to Contents
Why the PA Textbooks Remain a Secret to the Israeli Public
The school system of the nascent Palestinian Authority, established in the wake of the Oslo peace process, has fostered the first curriculum since Nazi Germany to train children in the art of war against the Jews. Yet the thorough research of the school books of the Palestinian National Authority remain a secret to most people in Israel. Why?
When the CMIP presented its evaluation of the Palestinian Authority school books at a well attended press conference at the King David Hotel on November 21, 2001, several media outlets were noticably absent: the three main Israeli newspapers were not there: HaAretz, Yediot and Maariv.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, which supplies releases to all the Jewish media and Jewish organization, was also not there. The JTA bureau chief in Israel, David Landau, co-author of the seminal 1993 volume, New Middle East, the book that promoted the Oslo process, has never reported about PA education.
Israel TV was there, yet preferred to delay the news of the press conference from its main 9 p.m. newscast until the less viewed midnite newscast.
Israel Kol Yisrael Radio news ran a story of the press conference on exactly two newscasts.
The people in Israel are therefore left in the dark concerning the PA curriculum.
Two days before the press conference, the Beligian Foreign Minister visited Israel, the PLO press agency WAFA announced that the Belgian government would be funding this year's set of PA school books.
When I asked the Belgian foreign minister's press secretary about the reason for the Belgian funding of the school books, she specifically mentioned that she had heard that the CMIP had reported that there had been an "improvement" in the content of the books.
The CMIP could only point to cosmetic improvements in the books, such as the "recognition" of the Jewish connection to Palestine during the time of King David.
Queries to the Israel Foreign Ministry concerning the school books produced a response:
The Israel Ambassador to Belgium, Mr. Shaul Amor, was instructed to discuss the school books with the Belgian Foreign Minister, while the Israel Foreign Ministry issued a release that it would conduct its own inquiry concerning the PA school books.
This would represent the first time that the Israeli government has conducted a study of PA textbooks.
The question remains as to whether the Israeli government will ever protest the content of the PA school books to the funders of PA education.
The Israeli public at large does not yet know about the PA curriculum.
friendly version of this article
Return to Contents
the Israel Resource
The Israel Resource Review is brought to you by
the Israel Resource, a media firm based at the Bet Agron Press Center in
Jerusalem, and the Gaza Media Center under the juristdiction of the Palestine
You can contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click on the above banner for more information