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December 13, 2021 11:36 am
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Teaching Hatred: Media Blind to PA Incitement as Terror Suspect, 14, Found with ‘Violent’ School Textbooks

avatar by Rachel O'Donoghue

Opinion

The scene of a stabbing in Jaffa that security services suspect may have been a terror attack, Nov. 21, 2021. Photo: Israel Police.

When a suspect in a terror attack is found with reading material that promotes violence against the victim of that attack, one would think this is worth reporting on.

Alas, it appears that Reuters and other publications — which seemingly rationalized the stabbing attack of an Israeli woman in front of her five children by a Palestinian youth last week — are reticent to report that the teenage suspect was found in possession of a number of Palestinian Authority (PA) textbooks that contain incitements to violence.

Reuters faced widespread condemnation last week after publishing an article headlined, “Palestinian girl facing Jerusalem eviction held on suspicion of stabbing Jewish neighbour,” which was criticized for tacitly inviting the reader to sympathize with the terror attacker’s potential motive. A version of the wire agency’s story was also republished by numerous international media outlets, such as Yahoo News and France24.

Yet, based on the latest development in the story, these prominent news organizations refuse to mend their ways.

The non-profit Israeli watchdog group IMPACT-se, which monitors educational resources for extremist material, revealed that the 14-year-old suspect was arrested carrying books that contained “violent” content, including a reading comprehension exercise that describes a terror attack on Israeli civilians as a “barbecue party.”

Another lesson, purporting to teach kids about statistics, refers to the number of “martyrs” killed by Israel, while a social studies text refers to armed resistance as “legitimate” and “natural.”

Commenting on the disturbing discovery, IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff, said:

It is hard to imagine a more tragic metaphor for the brazen antisemitism and encouragement to violence in the Palestinian curriculum, than a 14-year-old Palestinian girl stabbing a visibly Jewish woman while carrying the Palestinian Authority’s inciteful textbooks in her backpack. These textbooks are strategically created by the PA to promote a culture of hate and violence among 1.3 million children.

That so many media organizations have chosen to ignore this noteworthy fact is, unfortunately, part of a pattern of turning a blind eye to incitement by the Palestinian Authority.

HonestReporting has, for example, detailed how PA textbooks used to educate children in schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) have included material that was antisemitic, “glorified” convicted terrorists, and removed references to the Jewish state from maps. 

In April, the European Union parliament condemned the UNRWA for inciting hate and violence in its textbooks. In June, a report commissioned by the European Union found that Palestinian Authority textbooks were encouraging violence against Israelis, and included antisemitic messages. In September, the European Union parliament said it would begin to condition the funds received by the UN Palestinian refugee agency on the removal of incitement against the Jewish state from Palestinian textbooks.

Unfortunately, the hatred that appears in textbooks doesn’t stay there. Over the last few weeks, there has been a distressing rise in the number of terror attacks in Israel, including the fatal shooting of Eli Kay in Jerusalem’s Old City on November 21.

Such attacks have invariably been characterized as “lone wolf” incidents, the suggestion being that the perpetrators were not assisted or encouraged to carry out the violent acts (see here and here).

But the lone wolf label inadvertently serves to conceal the fact that these terrorist acts were not committed in a vacuum: they are inextricably linked to a culture of incitement perpetuated by a leadership that radicalizes Palestinians.

For example, shortly after 26-year-old Kay was gunned down by Hamas member Fadi Abu Shkhaydam, former PA spokesman Nour Odeh was quoted blaming the attack on Israel — a view that is emblematic of the attitude of much of the Palestinian Authority.

Yet, HonestReporting’s own data shows that in the dozens of media reports about the recent attacks, there was not a single mention of the PA’s so-called “pay-for-slay” policy — in which terrorists and their families are offered financial rewards for murdering Israeli civilians.

By not reporting on the Palestinian Authority’s paying of salaries to terrorists, the media are also denying readers and viewers knowledge about how these funds could otherwise be spent: on building new hospitals, providing better care for the Palestinian needy, and reforming the school curricula — for starters, by removing the hatred of Israel and the promotion of terror.

If Reuters and others believe it is noteworthy that the family of a girl accused of stabbing a Jewish mother is facing eviction, why do they not think it is equally significant that the suspect was being brainwashed by her own schoolbooks?

The author is a writer-researcher for HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias, where a version of this article first appeared.

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