Monitoring group: Palestinian Authority removes pacts with Israel from textbooks

2019 curriculum skips PLO statement calling for coexistence, peace and nonviolence; segments on Jewish history and connection to Jerusalem also missing

Palestinian schoolchildren studying at an UNRWA school in Gaza City. (IRIN/Creative Commons via JTA)
Palestinian schoolchildren studying at an UNRWA school in Gaza City. (IRIN/Creative Commons via JTA)

The Palestinian Authority has removed information about agreements signed with Israel from its textbooks, according to an organization that monitors Palestinian educational material.

The only signed agreement still mentioned in books studied by students in the West Bank and Gaza from first grade through high school is the 1993 Oslo Accords, which now is mentioned less favorably and with less detail than in earlier versions of the textbooks, the Ynet website reported, citing research by the Israeli NGO IMPACT-se, the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education.

The 2019 textbooks do not include the PLO statement calling for “coexistence,” “peace” and nonviolence with Israel, which appeared in the old version of the curriculum, according to the report.

The new curriculum also removes the substantial amount of information provided to Palestinian students about the ancient Jewish history of “Palestine” and the Jewish presence and connection to Jerusalem.

IMPACT-se also reports that there are many fewer references to Israel by name in the curriculum, and instead the textbooks refer to the “Zionist Occupation”; “The Occupation”; “Israeli Occupation”; “The Zionists”; and “The Zionist Entity.”

Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz delivers a statement to the press in Tel Aviv on September 26, 2019. (Avshalom Shoshoni/Flash90)

“If peace agreements with Israel have indeed been deleted from Palestinian textbooks, this action harms young Palestinians first and foremost,” MK Benny Gantz, a former Israeli military chief and now chairman of the Blue and White party, said in a statement. “Our ability to achieve a better future begins with educating the next generations on peace, tolerance and coexistence, not in incitement and suicide bombings. Deleting the past is essentially an attack on the hope for a better future.”

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