Israel Resource Review 31st August, 2000


Muhammad and Meira begin first grade
David Bedein
Bureau Chief, Israel Resource News Agency

I work with a senior Palestinian TV journalist, Mustafa, who, like me, hits fifty this month and, like me, has a child, Muhammad, who begins first grade this week.

My Meira, also six, is excited to know that ever so soon she will learn how to read and write like her older siblings.

I witness the same excitement that I see on Meira's face when I see Muhammad at his home in Ramallah, sitting with his older siblings.

Muhammad, who always runs to get me Kosher cookies when I come to work with his father on a fliming assignment, tells me that now that he's in first grade he'll be able to read the kosher label on the cookies.

Yet when I joined Mustafa this week to cover the beginning of the school year in both the Israeli and Palestinian first grades, the difference in the curriculum could not be more dissonant.

When I went to the curricula center in the Al Bira, the well kept middle class Palestinian suburb of Ramallah, the PA director of textbooks and printings, showed my Palestinian journalist and myself the new school books that have been published for the first time by the Palestinian Authority itself, with special grants received from the nations of the European community, beginning this year with brand new books for the first and sixth grade.

The other school books used by Palestinian school children, published for the PA in Egypt and in Jordan, are rampant with passages that prepare Palestinian children for war against the state of Israel, while describing the Jewish state in Nazi-like terms.

When the Israel Civil Administration had supervised the Palestinian school system until 1994, Israel had deleted all such passages. The PA simply reinstated them.

Many people had held out hope that the new school books published by the Palestinian Authority would contain passages of peace, unlike the others. No such luck. The history and geography books for both the first and sixth grades contain maps which portray all of Palestine, and numerous new passages that call on a new generation of Palestinian children to liberate all of Jerusalem and all of Palestine.

The contrast with what Israeli school children are learning is striking, since a peace curriculum has been required in the Israeli schools and Israeli educational Television since 1993.

As I browsed through the Palestinian school books, I could not help but think about the difference between Meira and Muhmmad.

Meira knows the Sesame Street song "let's be friends" in Arabic from the program that he has been watching on Israeli educational TV since she is four, and she sometimes insists on singing it at the Shabbat table.

For her, the idea that she might make friends with Arab kids her own age has caught her imagination from a young age.

Yet Muhammad, at the same age, can't stop singing the Biladi song of the PLO, the marching song which calls on every Palestinian youngster to take up arms against the Jews.

Such manipulation of children was not supposed to be part of the peace process.

After all, "peace education" was to be included in the second paragraph of the Oslo declaration of principles that was signed and issued by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jorgen Holst, and PLO leader Yassir Arafat back in September, 1993.

Yet almost seven years to the day from that declaration of principles, and despite numerous grass roots efforts at reconciliation, the official organs of the PLO and its administrative creation, the Palestinian Authority, have yet to issue their first statement in Arabic that calls for peace and reconciliation with Zionism and/or the state of Israel.

I inquired as to whether the Italian consul, Mr. Gianni Ghisi, who was responsible for organizing the funding of the European consuls to fund the new Palestinian textbooks, had even seen the new textbooks of the Palestinian Authority that he had funded.

Mr. Ghisi responded by saying that the PA would not let him see the books before they were published, despite an agreement that they had to review the texts before publication.

Recognizing that the PLO and the PA had instead substituted incitement for peace in their official rhetoric, the US, PLO and Israel had agreed at the Wye conference in October, 1998 to establish a continuing task force to address the subject of official PLO incitement to war.

That task force met constantly for more than a year, even into the Barak administration, which assumed the helm of Israeli leadership in July of 1999. Barak appointed Yaakov Erez, the editor of Maariv, to head Israel's delegation to the task force on incitement.

The Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace, an agency that monitors school books on all sides of the middle east conflict, dispatched streams of material to the task force, and organized an unusual nonpartisan session of the Knesset in May to address the subject of PA education, which constantly depicts Israel as a Nazi entity that needs to be wiped off of the face of the earth.

The Center's website can be accessed at:

Following my visit to the PA curriculum center at AL Bira, where I had perused the new textbooks of the PA, I called Yaakov Erez to ask him if the textbooks had been seen and evaluated by the task force on incitement. Erez told me that he had resigned from the committee, and referred me to the Israel Foreign Ministry, who had assigned a senior staff member to continue Israeli representation at the committee.

When I got to the Israel foreign ministry and finally located the Foreign Ministry staffer who was assigned to the incitement committee, he informed me that the task force on incitement was no longer meeting. The reason given by the Israel Foreign Ministry staffer: Lack of interest demonstrated by the current US ambassador.

So there you have it.

Meira begins first grade knowing the Sesame Street song in Arabic by heart, wondering aloud if she will ever have an Arab friend, while Muhammad will be handed a map of the whole of Palestine on his first day of school, and inculcated to do everything that he can in his young life to make war on my children.

It was therefore not surprising that the New York Times, in a front page story on August 3, 2000, entitled "Palestinian Summer Camps Offer Games of War", documented how the schoolyards of Palestinian educational institutions were used all summer to train 25,000 Palestinian school children in the art of war.

The writer, who now works as a journalist, has worked on issues of reconciliation and holds a master's degree in community organization social work practice

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Professional Review of the Palestinian Authority teachers guide
Dr. Daphne Burdman

Analysis of “REPORT: PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY SCHOOL TEXTBOOKS”, compiled by the “Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace” CMIP); Research Director: Itamar Marcus. (CMIP is accessible at

140 textbooks were reviewed by CMIP.

Of these, 36 were quoted in their Report.

From these 36 books, 7 are analysed here in greater detail for \ content.

(1). “Our Arabic Language for Fifth Grade. 22 items from this textbook appear in the report. The content within these twenty-two items includes:- - Need to liberate Jerusalem, Palestine or both by force from Jews: Appears 13 times -Jihad as duty/Muslims defeating enemy:Appears 6 times - Map of Palestine which includes whole of Israel:Appears 2 times - Importance of Martyrdom:Appears 8 times - Claims that various Israeli cities including Jerusalem are actually Palestine: Appears 5 times -Jews are referred to as “the thieving conquerors”: 1 time

* See, for example, page 27 of the Report:- “Why must we fight the Jews and drive them out of our land?”

(2). “Our Arabic Language for Seventh Grade, Part A.” 2 items from this textbook appear in the Report. The content within these two items include:- Need for force to liberate Palestine from the Jews.*Appears 1 time Claims that various Israeli cities are actually Palestine 1 time Concept of Palestinian land being stolen by the Jews: 1 time * See page 13 of the Report: “Subject for Composition: How are we going to liberate our stolen land? Make use of the following ideas : Arab unity, genuine faith in Allah, most modern weapons and ammunition, using oil and other precious natural resources as weapons in the battle for liberation.”

(3). “Our Arabic Language, Part 2 for Sixth Grade.” 4 items from this textbook appear in the Report. The content within these four items includes:- - Concept of Jihad. Appears 4 times - Martyrdom Appears 2 times See page 31 of the report:- To be learned by heart the poem “Mother of the Cities” in which BAGHDAD is to liberate Jaffa, Nablus and Shaar Hagai, (the entrance to Jerusalem)

(4). “Contemporary History of the Arabs and the World.” 4 items from this textbook appear in the report. The content within these four items includes: - Equating Zionism with racism, Nazism and Fascism:3 times - Comparing Zionism with Imperialism: 1 time

NOTE: stating that Zionism advocates elimination of the original inhabitants, whereas Imperialism has not gone as far as eliminating the original inhabitants. See page 9. - A so-called “Talmudic quote” stating that “We the Jews are God’s people on earth,to... marry into the various religions [to have] the final word in managing the countries [of the world]...... We should cheat [the non Jews] and arouse quarrels among them that they then fight each other... Non Jews are pigs who God created in the shape of man ....that they be fit for service to the Jews.....” See page 8.

(5)“Modern Arab History and Contemporary Problems, Part 2, for Tenth Grade.” 13 items from this textbook appear in the report. The content within these four items includes: Expulsion of the Arabs by colonialist, aggressive Jews: 1 time Denial of Jewish nationhood, history and legitimacy: 4 times - False maps 1 time - Colonial powers use Israel 1 time

Note. The USA is helping Israel in its aggressive wars against the Arabs . See page 52 - Israel is occupied Palestine 1 time - Zionist Greed 1 time - Israeli or Jewish provocation 2 times

"Israel constitutes a military, economic, political and security provocation to the Arab world. The struggle has whittled away much of the economic capacity of the Arab world.... “ See page 38

** “Revolt of 1929: [started] when the Jews congregated at al-Buraq Wall {The WesternWall} and raised the Zionist flag over it as a provocation to the Arabs. This was an insult to Moslem worshippers and they attacked the Jews.” See page 38. - Israel transferring out water resources: 1 time

(6). “Our Arabic Language, Part 1, for Sixth Grade.” 11 items from this textbook appear in the report. The content within these eleven items includes:- - Need to fight, war, Jihad“ 3 times - The Jews as thieves (0f Palestine) 3 times - Martyrdom, including its glories and heroism. 4 times - the Zionist danger: 1 time. (7). “Reader and Literary Texts for Eighth Grade.” 13 items from this textbook appear in the Report. The content within these thirteen items includes:- - Advocates the need for Force to liberate Jerusalem: 8 times * &

*For example: from poem entitled “Bayonets and Torches” “....Without blood not even one centimeter will be liberated....”

The text then continues “The poem represents a reality lived by Palestinians. Explain this.” (See page 13 of the report ). - ** From poem, “Palestine” “My brothers! The oppressors [Israel-ed.] have overstepped the boundary, Therefore Jihad and sacrifice are a duty...... ...let us gather for war with red blood and blazing fire... ...Oh, Palestine, the youth will redeem your land...” page 28 of the Report

The Jews as greedy, thieves, and making false claims to Jerusalem........................ “ 2 times

The text asks “What can we do to rescue Jerusalem and to liberate it from the thieving enemy........”

page 22 of the Report

- False claims of arson and a Zionist plot: 1 time - Occupiers set al-Aqsa Mosque on fire on 21.8.69.... a further chapter in the Zionist destroy all that is holy to Islam there...What can we do to rescue Jerusalem and to liberate it from the thieving enemy?”

Editor's note: the fire was set by a non-Jew from Australia-ed. At his trial he was found to be of unsound mind, and was committed to a mental hospital.

The writer is a research psychiatrist who recently retired from active work at the Truman Center for Peace, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

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This week in the official Palestinian Authority media
Itamar Marcus

Palestinian Media Watch - This Week in the Palestinian Media - 22.8.2000

Itamar Marcus, Director - Palestinian Media Watch -

This week, the Palestinian press dwelt on the Palestinian achievements in the Camp David summit, and how Israel was pulled closer to the positions held by the Palestinian Authority (P.A.). In one interview, Palestinian negotiator Saib Arikat recounted an important conversation between President Bill Clinton and P.A. Chairman Yasser Arafat, the conversation, in fact, that brought about the failure of the Camp David summit. In the conversation, Clinton attempts to persuade Arafat to settle for the concessions offered by Israel which included, among others, the dismantling of all the Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip, an exchange of territories, and a withdrawal from 90% of Judea and Samaria:

Arikat: "While the President [Arafat] listened, the American leaders stated their warnings [about the consequences of refusal]. They did not stop until he [Arafat] retorted: 'Thank you very much for the effort you put in, but I am not prepared to agree to treason and I will never agree to give the Israelis any sovereignty whatsoever on any part of Jerusalem. We are weak now, but [some day] some one will come who will liberate [the city]'."

Arikat added that Clinton became angry and said: "Good, go back to Gaza as a hero, and be the hero in the eyes of the Christians and the Moslems... but you will return and remain isolated in the Middle East; the Barak goverenment is on the verge of collapse, and the peace process will collapse."

President Yasser Arafat replied to Clinton: "We are prepared to work on the peace process... day by day and hour by hour, but I will not agree that [even] one inch of Jerusalem will be under Israeli sovereignty."

Clinton retorted: "Gaza will be cleansed of settlers, there will be a road between the West Bank and Gaza, absolute Palestinian control of the passages, the Palestinian state will be declared on 90% of the West Bank, there will an exchange of territory, and their will be Palestinian control over many religious sites in Jerusalem!" The President responded to Clinton, "You don't see the picture in its totality, which is that I came [here to Camp David] with a broken heart because I am negotiating on only 22% of historical Palestine, and this is the painful concession that remains with the the Palestinian people; I will not concede more than that and the Palestinian people will never weaken. [Al Ayyam, 8 August 2000].

In another interview, Arikat described the Israeli proposal to divide Jerusalem, including the proposal that "the seat of the Palestinian government will be in the area of the Temple Mount":

"...[Saib Arikat] said... 'Israel submitted proposals to divide Jerusalem into a number of districts, where districts that are outside the borders of Jerusalem, that we don't recognize to begin with, will be subject to Palestinian sovereignty; a few neighborhoods inside Jerusalem will be subject to full Palestinian autonomy, and a municipal body will be established to administer Jerusalem's affairs. And side by side, there will be Palestinian sovereignty over the holy places and the seat of the Palestinian government will be in the area of Ha-ram (the Temple Mount), and Israel will hold the remaining sovereignty at the bottom of the illustrious Ha-ram (Temple Mount) of Jerusalem... Arikat [also] said that the subject of the refugees was a major point of contention during conversations that took place in the course of the summit." [Al Hayat Al-Jadida, 13 August 2000].

After the recent events in Lebanon, Israel is seen by Palestinian society as a nation that cannot endure adversity and military challenges, as opposed to the Palestinians who are prepared to sacrifice and fight for their cause. The Palestinians view this as Israel's Achilles' heel and they intend to use the threat of violence, as well as controlled actual violence, to weaken Israel's resolve and ability to hold on to Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. This position was expressed this week by a leading member of the United National Front of the Villages of '48, Yusuf Alsalem:

"...Alsalem emphasized that Barak has no other option but to acknowledge the Palestinian rights that are recognized by international law... especially since our Palestinian people . are prepared to make sacrifices in order to achieve independence; as for the Israeli people, it cannot tolerate the consequences of continuing violence and bloodshed, from a psychological, economic, and social standpoint...". [Al Hayat Al-Jadida, 13 August 2000].

At the same time that the P.A. is discussing peace with Israel, messages of the Palestinians' not coming to terms with Israel's existence as well as not recognizing her existence, are accentuated over and over in every newspaper and periodical, often quite explicitly, as in the following examples:

"Minister of Justice Farich Abu Midyen... called for 'co-existence with the Israelis, in accordance with the example of South Africa or other bi-national states, but the problem is that the Israelis want a Jewish state". [Al Hayat Al-Jadida, 10 August 2000].

The Secretary-General of the Movement for the Islamic Struggle: "Jerusalem never was the capital of the Hebrew state and we will note what is emphasized in the Koran: The end of the Zionist entity is a Koranic necessity, there is no place for [Israel] no matter how long it takes [to disappear]..." [Palestinian Television 6 August 2000].

At times, the tool for expressing this non-acceptance of Israel is the use of terminology of non-recognition. For example, defining Israeli cities as "Palestinian cities", or characterizing Israel as "the occupation". The following are a few examples:

"The city of Akko (Acre) in occupied Palestine... [Al Hayat Al-Jadida, 10 August 2000]. "The occupation tried to entice the residents of Um Al-Farg... which is near Nahariya, and the occupation set up at the site of the village the 'Ben Ami' base..." ... [Al Hayat Al-Jadida, 10 August 2000].

Crossword puzzle clues: "A Palestinian city". The correct answers are "Akko (Acre)" and "Nazareth". [Al Quds, 6 August 2000]. The Justice Minister Farich Abu Midyen refers to Israel as the "Hebrew State" [Al Hayat Al-Jadida, 10 August 2000]. The expressions, "the settlement of Kfar Veradim" and "the settlement of Ma'a lot" are used to refer to Israeli towns and cities within the Green Line [Al Ayyam, 10 August 2000].

The press frequently contains announcements of activities that emphasize the Palestinian refusal to come to terms with Israel, such as trips to "... regions that were captured in 1948 - in order that the children will be aware of the Palestinian cities and areas from which the residents were expelled..."

Lately, there are reports of the cultivating and strengthening of the links between the P.A. and Hamas:

"... Salim Alzanun [the chairman of the Palestinian National Council] said: 'At the present stage, we have decided to enter into a national dialog with Hamas and the [Islamic] Jihad, with the goal of including them in the P.L.O. and its institutions..." [Al Hayat Al-Jadida, 6 August 2000].

Israeli Arabs continue to be portrayed in the Palestinian media as Palestinians who represent the Palestinians vis-a-vis Israel. Knesset member Ahmad Tibi recently appeared on a television program where he complemented Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak by stating that Barak really and truly aspires to peace, but added that Barak must stake out a bolder position, in order to conform to the desires of the Arabs. For the duration of the interview, whenever M. K. Tibi spoke of the Palestinians, he used the first person plural, i.e., "we" or "our society" and the like [Palestinian Television, 10 August 2000].

The media repeatedly praises the most murderous of terrorists that attacked Israel and similarly praises the terrorist acts themselves. In a quote from a book about Dal'al Al Ma'grabi, a woman terrorist that participated in the Coastal Road Bus terrorist massacre in which more than 35 Israelis were killed, it mentioned that the terrorist, who felt fatigued during the attack on the bus thought, "how pleasant is a [good night's] sleep after a hard work day". [Al Ayyam, 10 August 2000].

Every Friday, the Palestinian Television broadcasts sermons from mosques. The sermons of the P.A.'s religious leaders continue to exhibit a non-compromising Hamas line and present Israel-Palestinian relations as a religious war. The Islamic preacher Dr. Ahmad Yusuf Abu Halbiah, permits the shedding of Jewish blood as mandated by a heavenly decree:

"The resurrection of the dead will not occur, until you battle with the Jews and kill them..." [28 July 2000], and "Oh, our Arab brothers... Oh, our Moslem brothers... don't leave the Palestinians alone in their their war against the Jews... even if we are destined to serve as the vanguard... Jerusalem, Palestine, and Al Akza will remain as the focal point of the struggle between truth and falsehood" [11 August 2000].


The writer directs Palestinian Media Watch and also serves as the research director for the Center for the Study of the Impact of Peace

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