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March 11, 2020 1:26 pm
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UK Parliament Members Debate ‘Systematic Insertion of Violence, Martyrdom and Jihad’ in Palestinian Authority Textbooks

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Images featured in Palestinian Authority textbooks reviewed by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se). Photo: IMPACT-se.

Members of the UK Parliament debated on Tuesday the issue of incitement to violence and terrorism in Palestinian Authority textbooks, with one expressing concern over “a systematic insertion of violence, martyrdom and jihad” in the educational materials.

The debate took place at Westminster Hall, where MPs can raise specific issues with a government minister, though no votes are taken.

Citing a study by watchdog group IMPACT-se, MP Jonathan Gullis, a member of Conservative Friends of Israel, showed Minister of State James Cleverly an excerpt from a textbook glorifying terrorist Dalal al-Mughrabi, who murdered over 50 Israelis, 13 of them children.

“After examining 202 textbooks from the current curriculum, IMPACT-se found a systematic insertion of violence, martyrdom and jihad across all grades and subjects where the possibility of peace with Israel is rejected,” Gullis noted.

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MP Stephen Crabb said, “Concerns have been constantly raised by members across parties in this house about the use of inciteful language in textbooks which whether directly or indirectly, UK aid has helped to finance. One of the questions we need an answer to this afternoon is why there has been so little progress.”

From the other side of the aisle, Steve McCabe, the head of Labour Friends of Israel, agreed, saying, “I strongly support a two-state solution and it is precisely because of that support that I believe it is imperative that we tackle the issue of radicalization in the Palestinian school curriculum.”

“It seeks to pass on old hatreds and prejudices to a new generation of young people,” he asserted. “It’s a barrier to reconciliation and coexistence, is pernicious and simply unacceptable.”

The MPs also asked when a pending European Commission review of PA textbooks would be made public.

Cleverly replied, “An enduring principle we can all agree is that antisemitism is unacceptable in all its forms — it is offensive it is hateful and has no place anywhere in society least of all in the classrooms.”

“We are therefore deeply concerned about the reports of radicalization in the Palestinian education system and specifically the concerns around the Palestinian Authority’s textbooks and the incitement of hatred and violence towards Israelis,” he said. “And it is clear from the debate we have had so far today that these concerns are shared across this house.”

“These are serious allegations and we take them seriously,” Cleverly stated.

The head of IMPACT-se, CEO Marcus Sheff, commented on the debate, saying, “They rightly want to know why the European report on textbooks has still not seen the light of day, nearly two years after it was commissioned. These are good questions.”

“The European Commission has a responsibility to all those countries that have for years been financing the Palestinian Ministry of Education, to make the report publicly available and not to hide it away in shame,” he added.

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