Israeli, Palestinian Institutes Join Forces to Counter Radicalization in PA Curriculum
Two Jerusalem-based institutes are joining forces in an effort to encourage the Palestinian Authority (PA) to stamp out incitement and violent themes in its school curriculum.
In a joint statement on Thursday, the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) said it will be working with Professor Mohammed Dajani Daoudi of the WASATIA Academic Institute (WAI) to “promote Wasatia education for the Palestinian educational system.”
Daoudi, a Palestinian professor and peace activist, founded the Wasatia movement in January 2007 to promote religious and political moderation among Palestinians, co-existence with Israelis, and education on the Holocaust and other topics considered taboo in Palestinian society.
He drew controversy in 2014 by leading a student delegation from the Palestinian Al-Quds University to visit the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. The professor was expelled from the school’s faculty union and his car torched in the ensuing furor.
In a new booklet published by Daoudi with the support of IMPACT-se and WAI, the professor identified five “problematic categories” within current Palestinian textbooks: “[Encouragement] to violence; subliminal violent messaging; demonization of the Other; indoctrination to militancy; and degradation of women.”
The study of Islam should also focus on promoting “positive values rather than ultra-nationalistic goals and violent means,” he added. “While some texts [in the PA curriculum] include anachronistic martial elements, such as militant jihadism against the infidels, these bear no relevance to today’s world.”
“It is hoped that the Palestinian Authority will revise its curriculum along the lines of the international standards for peace education presented here,” Daoudi wrote.
Both IMPACT-se and WAI say they base their reviews Palestinian textbooks and formulates suggestions based on standards promoted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Last year, the former published a study about the new textbooks used in schools run by the PA and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), warning that they help radicalize children.
It highlighted lessons that glorify terrorists who massacred Israeli children and other civilians, encourage the view that Israel is exclusively Arab territory, refer to Israelis and Jews interchangeably and with hostility and “feature a radical Islamist, and occasionally, a Salafi worldview.”