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September 28, 2017 4:28 pm

Author of New Study of Palestinian Textbooks in UNRWA Schools: Attitude Toward Israel and Jews Has Gotten Worse

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Students raise their hands in a Palestinian school run by the UNRWA. Photo: UN Photo / Shareef Sarhan.

Anti-Israel and anti-Jewish bias in textbooks used by Palestinian students in United Nations Relief and Works Agency-run schools in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has only increased in recent years, the author of a new study of the issue told The Algemeiner on Wednesday.

Dr. Aaron Groiss — whose 261-page report was published in cooperation with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Center for Near East Policy Research and Middle East Forum — said he had reviewed 77 books issued by the Palestinian Authority in 2016 and 2017, and noted that “the attitude toward Israel and Jews has gotten worse.”

According to the study, three basic principles undergird the ideology toward Israel and Jews taught to Palestinian children – “delegitimization, demonization and indoctrination to violent struggle instead of peace.”

For example, the report found, “Jewish holy places, such as the Wailing [Western] Wall in Jerusalem, the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, are not recognized as such. Rather, they are presented in the books as Muslim holy places usurped by the Jews.”

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Also, Israel “is not recognized as a sovereign state and its name does not appear on maps, except for one case in which it is depicted as an occupying entity since 1948,” the report said. “Israel is sometimes replaced by Palestine as the sovereign state in the region both in text and on maps, and the latter is supposed to cover all of Israel’s territories after their liberation from occupation.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper — the associate dean and director of global social action at the Simon Wiesenthal Center — told The Algemeiner, “It’s a war curriculum, not a peace curriculum.”

“Based on what is now being taught, for the next generation of Palestinian kids, there is no Israel, it doesn’t exist,” Cooper continued. “There’s absolutely nothing in these books that sets the stage for any breakthrough that would bring true peace between the two peoples.”

This week, Groiss and Cooper — joined by David Bedein, CEO of the Center for Near East Policy Research, and Jonathan Halevi, senior researcher on Middle East affairs and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs — held meetings on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC and at UN headquarters in New York City, where they presented the study.

“The UN, through UNRWA especially, is part of the problem, and it has the leverage, if it exercises it from the top, to send a signal to the Palestinians,” Cooper said.

“This is not a right or left issue,” he went on to say. “This is a study that everybody, across the full political and social spectrum, everywhere, needs to read.”

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  • doctorweird

    In other surprising news, sky blue, Earth spherical, and Elvis still dead.

  • Erica Ling

    No surprise the overtly hostile rhetoric continues. Apart from the effectively beleaguered Trump administration, who has the courage to break rank and condemn the West Bank and Gaza administrations, even for human rights violations against their own people ? Even if inclined, their fear of mass , violent protests from their own minority populations. is enough to silence them- to keep the nations in line.

  • This outstanding study was directed toward reasonable people. Unfortunately, the PLO-Hamas terrorist entitles have deliberately incited a generation of Arab youth to hate Jews and Israel. The only solution is for Israel to directly administer Arab curriculum throughout Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. And that won’t happen until the PLO-Hamas occupation ends.

  • Efram Paul

    Yes, everyone needs to read it. Unfortunately, the entire left-wing will call it Islamophobia and use it as an excuse not to read it (as they do with anything with which they do not agree).

  • Reb_Yaakov

    One more thing needs to be said. There is no such thing as a “right or left issue.” Everything is what it is, but it can be perceived differently through different lenses. The Jewish lens is one that focuses on everything as it is, as objectively and evenhandedly as possible.

  • Reb_Yaakov

    On a positive note, the report does state that, unlike books from other Arab countries, “the PA schoolbooks hardly contain explicit anti-Jewish slander.”

    The report unfortunately makes reference to the “Old Testament” and to the “New Testament.” These terms are viewed as put-downs by many Jews and should not have been used. Many sensitive and tolerant Christians would not use them even when writing for an exclusively Christian readership. The “Jewish Bible” and the “Christian scriptures” would have been acceptable.