Britain to lead review of incitement in Palestinian textbooks
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Britain to lead review of incitement in Palestinian textbooks

According to an Israeli watchdog, last year the British government gave £20 million to Palestinian schools teaching a curriculum that embraces jihad

Illustrative: Israel's UN ambassador Danny Danon teaches reporters how to stab a Jew, with a teaching aid commonly found in Palestinian schools. (Loey Felipe)
Illustrative: Israel's UN ambassador Danny Danon teaches reporters how to stab a Jew, with a teaching aid commonly found in Palestinian schools. (Loey Felipe)

The British government and other donors to the Palestinian education system will undertake a review of incitement against Israel and Jews in Palestinian textbooks.

“There is no place in education for materials or practices that incite young minds toward violence,” said Parliament member and Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt during a debate Wednesday in the House of Commons, the British parliament’s lower house, on incitement in Palestinian Authority textbooks.

“Our continued support will come with a continued strong challenge to the Palestinian Authority on education-sector incitement,” he added. “We are in the final stages of discussions to take forward a textbook review jointly with other donors.”

The review should be completed by September 2019, he added. The review will be “evidence-based and rigorous,” Burt also said.

The debate was convened at the request of lawmaker Joan Ryan, chair of the Labour Friends of Israel.

Ryan quoted examples from a report from October about a reform in the Palestinian Authority curriculum. The changes it brought meant that “radicalization is pervasive across this new curriculum, to a greater extent than before,” according to the report by the Israel-based Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education.

Image from the April, 2017 IMPACT-se report on Palestinian elementary schools textbooks. (Screenshot)

One book for 11th graders, “Islamic Education, Vol. 1,” states that: “The corruption of the children of Israel in the land was and will be the cause of their annihilation, and this Islamic creed applies to every tyrant and oppressor.”

Another book for 10th graders, titled “Arabic Language, Vol. 1,” ignores Jewish presence in the Land of Israel or depicts it as a common cause against which Muslims and Christians must do battle.

In April, the education watchdog said that the British government last year gave £20 million ($26.5 million) to Palestinian schools teaching a curriculum that embraces jihad, omits references to peace agreements with Israel and encourages martyrdom, the Sunday Times reported.

The Israeli government has long argued that incitement in Palestinian textbooks is a main contributor to hatred and terrorism against Israelis. Palestinian officials counter that draconian Israeli measures and decades of occupation, not incitement, instill hatred and inspire terrorism.

The issue has taken on increasing significance of late, as members of Congress have threatened to decrease US aid to Palestinians if incitement is not curbed.

Separately, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced on July 2 that Australia would cease its funding to the Palestinian Authority altogether over its salaries for terrorists jailed in Israel, including murderers.

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