New PA Textbooks Are Worse Than the Old Ones
JNS.org – There was great hope and anticipation several years ago when the Palestinian Authority (PA) announced that it was completely replacing its K-12 school textbooks. But new editions merely confirm obsessive Palestinian hatred of Jews and rejection of peace with Israel.
The older Palestinian textbooks were filled with ugly anti-Zionist and antisemitic propaganda. Shockingly, this pervasive spirit of distortion and hate wasn’t only employed in history textbooks, but also dominated language, math, and even science lessons.
The original PA textbooks were in use for about 20 years, having been published following the Oslo Accords. (Prior to that, Palestinian schools had continued to use Jordanian textbooks published before the 1967 Six Day War.)
Over the past three years, the PA has released the full set of new textbooks — and they are even worse than the old ones in teaching Jew-hatred, fictionalized history, and a profound glorification of martyrdom, terrorism, and hate. Though Western liberals continue to place the onus of peace-making on Israel, these materials make clear the Palestinians’ dedication to waging war.
The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) recently published its reports on the textbooks — replete with examples — that demonstrate the horrific indoctrination being inflicted on Palestinian youth by their educators.
Geography, of course, is taught without reference to Israel’s borders — or even the State of Israel’s existence. All of the maps and exercises are predicated on a state of Palestine with its borders extending from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, and from Lebanon to Egypt. Israel is completely obliterated throughout the textbooks, although they are rife with references to “Zionist occupiers” and “Zionist Jews.”
The city of Haifa is treated as “occupied territory” — every bit as “occupied” as the disputed areas of Judea and Samaria, which fell under Israeli control in June of 1967.
So while much of the world considers the issue of the eventual disposition of the “West Bank” to be the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, yet another generation of Palestinian kids in PA-administered schools are being indoctrinated to believe that the only satisfactory resolution of the situation is the total overthrow and expulsion of the “Zionist usurpers” from every square inch of “Palestine.”
But the perfidious nature of the Palestinian textbooks extends well beyond geography or even history. Throughout the math and science textbooks — including even first- and second-grade math textbooks — problems and exercises are structured around the purported evils of the “Zionist occupation.” Exercises include comparing the number of “martyrs” in the first and second intifadas, and what percentage of those shot by Israeli soldiers in the Gaza uprisings were elevated to “martyrdom.”
The essential thrust of the PA literature and language textbooks is the glorification of martyrdom and jihad as unqualified virtues. Poetry extolling the virtues of suicide bombers and homicidal terrorists are frequent.
In what one might grimly consider a feminist virtue of the new Palestinian textbooks, girls are called to participate fully in jihad, and not to hesitate in making themselves into “holy martyrs.”
But these teaching materials do not merely present a perverse political philosophy, they also convey blanket falsehoods designed to erase Jewish history and support exclusive Palestinian claims to all of Israel.
Thus, Jewish culture and history in “Palestine” are, not surprisingly, completely expunged. According to the Palestinian textbooks, any Jewish presence in the area has existed only in the past century, when synagogues were first built by the Zionist invaders and the Al-Buraq wall — built by Arabs in honor of the Prophet Muhammad’s horse — was renamed and co-opted by Zionists as the “Western Wall.”
Since — according to the Palestinian textbooks — there were never any Jewish Temples in Jerusalem, the Western Wall is clearly another recent Zionist-Jewish invention.
The Palestinian “phased plan” to eliminate the Zionist cancer from Palestine — which is still in the PLO charter — is diligently taught throughout the curriculum.
Yet the primary concern of PA Education Minister Sabri Saidam is that Israel refuses to use these Palestinian textbooks in Arab-majority schools in Israel or the disputed territories, particularly in Jerusalem. Saidam insists that Israel’s use of versions of the Israeli curriculum for Arab-Israeli kids is “an ugly crime of counterfeit” perpetrated by the “Zionist oppressors.”
Great Britain and the European Union have contributed hundreds of millions to the development and propagation of the Palestinian textbooks and curriculum, but that may be drawing to a close. Both are doing their own reviews of the Palestinian textbooks; each has laws outlawing aid in furtherance of terrorism, incitement, violence, and hatred. Their reports are due later this year and by all rights should spell the end of UK and EU support for this despicable educational charade.
Those who doubt any imminent resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict need look no further than these Palestinian textbooks to become even more pessimistic about a new Palestinian generation leading the way — at long last — to a peaceful future for Arabs and Jews alike. These unfortunate children are being brainwashed by their elders to seek no compromise, but to continue on the suicidal path of terror, hate, and ignorance so well established by past generations of Palestinian Arabs and their leaders.
Ken Cohen is editor of Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME), which publishes educational messages to correct lies and misperceptions about Israel and its relationship with the United States.