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Posted by on Feb 12, 2007 in At TMV | 30 comments

PA Teaching Children to Hate

Palestinian Media Watch reports:

Washington, DC – The new Palestinian Authority (PA) textbooks for Grade 12 encourage students to see Israel, the US and the West as enemies, and portray the PA’s territorial disputes with Israel as an existential religious conflict for Islam, according to a report released today by Palestinian Media Watch and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The report, “From Nationalist Battle to Religious Conflict: New 12th Grade Palestinian Textbooks Present a World Without Israel,” was written by PMW director Itamar Marcus and associate director Barbara Crook, and analyzes eight textbooks released at the end of 2006.

According to the report, the new books create for students an image, both textual and visual, of a world without Israel. They reject Israel’s right to exist, while describing its founding as a “catastrophe that is unprecedented in history.” According to the report, the books encourage students to see themselves as victims of Israel’s existence, and actively prevent these young people from seeing Israel as a neighbor to live beside in peace. The history books barely acknowledge the peace process. This is compounded by the presentation of the conflict as a religious conflict to defend Islamic land, and leaves no latitude or religious option for students to have positive — or even neutral — attitudes towards Israel.

The textbooks likewise portray the US and the West in negative terms, describing the relationship as a “clash of civilizations.” The books teach that the US is a human rights abuser and a violator of international humanitarian law. The texts assert that the US is an economic supporter of Israel, while completely ignoring the US aid to the PA and to Palestinian humanitarian projects.

Senator Hillary Clinton commented:
“I believe that education is one of the keys to lasting peace in the Middle East and for this reason I am very concerned with these findings. Ever since we first raised this issue some years ago there still has not been an adequate repudiation of incitement by the Palestinian Authority. It is even more disturbing that the problem appears to have gotten worse. These textbooks don’t give Palestinian children an education, they give them an indoctrination.”

The entire report can be read here (PDF) and / or here (Word).

O, and who pays for these books? From the Executive Summary:

At the end of 2006, the Palestinian Authority (PA) Ministry of Higher Education introduced new 12th grade schoolbooks, written by the Center for Developing the Palestinian Curricula. The center is comprised of Palestinian educators appointed by the Fatah governments of Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, and directed by Dr. Naim Abu Al-Humos, former PA Minister of Higher Education, appointed in 2002. The center is backed by foreign funding, with special thanks to Belgium noted in the new schoolbooks.

More:

The following description of Israel’s founding represents the dominant dogma about Israel in Palestinian schoolbooks:

“Palestine’s war ended with a catastrophe that is unprecedented in history, when the Zionist gangs stole Palestine and expelled its people from their cities, their villages, their lands and their houses, and established the State of Israel.”
[Arabic Language, Analysis, Literature and Criticism, grade 12, p. 104 ]

Defining Israel’s founding as a “catastrophe unprecedented in history,” “a theft perpetrated by “Zionist gangs,” together with numerous other hateful descriptions of Israel as “colonial imperialist” and “racist,” compounded by the presentation of the conflict as a religious war, leaves no latitude for students to have positive or even neutral attitudes towards Israel. This negative imagery and religious packaging are compounded by hateful presentations of Israeli policy. The young students are imbued with a Palestinian identity as “victimsâ€? just by virtue of Israel’s existence. The well-meaning student is left with no logical justification or religious option to accept Israel as a neighbor or to seek coexistence. Given the total rejection of Israel’s right to exist, on nationalistic and religious grounds, Palestinian terror against Israel since Israel’s founding in 1948 is defined as: “resistance … acts of most glorious heroism.” [Arabic Language, Analysis, Literature and Commentary, grade 12 p 105]

But, but, isn’t Abbas moderate?

But PA educators teach that fighting Israel is not merely a territorial conflict, but also a religious battle for Islam. The schoolbooks define the conflict with Israel as “Ribat for Allah” – “one of the actions related to Jihad for Allah, and it means: Being found in areas where there is a struggle between Muslims and their enemies.” [Islamic Education, grade 12, p. 86]. Israel is thus stigmatized as existing on Islam’s land, and fighting Israel is transformed from an Arab nationalistic goal into an uncompromising battle for God. Moreover, the youth are taught that their specific conflict with Israel – Ribat for “Palestine” – is “one of the greatest of the Ribat, and they [Palestinians] are worthy of a great reward from Allah”. [Ibid, pp.86- 87].

Beyond looking to the future, the educators have built a picture – both verbally and visually – of the present world, a world in which Israel does not exist. “Palestine” today is said to be a special “state” (Arabic – “Dawla” = state, not a geographical region) with water access to both the Mediterranean and the Red Seas, a situation possible only if Israel does not exist. [Physical Geography and Human Geography, grade 12, p. 105] Likewise the size of the “state” of “Palestine” is said to be more than 10,000 sq. km., which is the figure one gets only if Israel did not exist, as the full West Bank and Gaza Strip total only 6220 sq. km.
[Physical Geography and Human Geography, grade 12, p. 107]

Maps of the region likewise teach children to visualize a world without Israel, as Israel does not exist on any map and its area is marked as “Palestine.”

Since all of Israel and all its cities are taught to be an “occupation” of “Palestine,” and “Palestine” in all the school books replaces all of Israel, the following teaching can only mean that Israel’s destruction is inevitable:
“Palestine will be liberated by its men, its women, its young ones and its elderly.”
[Arabic Language and the Science of Language, grade 12, p. 44]

The future looks bright indeed! I am quite sure that the PA teaching its children / students to hate Israel, to persue the destruction of Israel, describing the situation with the West as a “clash of civilizations”, etc. etc. will result in two states that coexist peacefully.

That is logical, right?

Some special praise for Hillary Clinton for working with PMW on this project. It is incredibly important that the West is confronted with how the PA (despite keeping up appearances publicly) indoctrinates children to hate Israel with a passion that can only lead to more terrorism.

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Copyright 2007 The Moderate Voice
  • jdledell

    Michael – No question that these textbooks are sad and inappropriate. But then again, the Israeli textbooks do not show a Palestine either. Remember the big brohaha in Israel several months ago when the Israeli Education Minister wanted to put the “Green Line” into the text books. She was very quickly overuled.

    My Hebrew isn’t the best but in reading the text books in my Nieces and Nephews homes, the Israeli versions of Palestinians is more suble but to the same effect as what the world condemns (rightfully) in Palestinian text. The Israeli texts emphasize Eretz Yisrael and the fact that the Palestinians are interlopers on Jewish Land. In the settlements the supplemental texts are even more brutal even if they are not officially endorsed by the Education Ministry.

    Please don’t portray what is happening in Israel and Palestine as a one-sided affair. It does not do justice to the complexity of the situation.

  • jdledell: great links and research you posted on that…

    O…

  • Some fitting lyrics (“Tons O Guns” by Gang Starr)

    Tons o’ guns everybody’s getting strapped
    Tons o’ guns got to watch the way you act
    Tons o’ guns real easy to get
    Tons o’ guns bringing nothing but death
    Tons o’ guns are in the streets nowadays
    It’s big money and you know crime pays
    Check your nearest overpopulated ghetto
    They greet you with a pistol not trying to say hello
    Mad kids packed ’cos the neighborhood’s like that

    Tons o’ guns everybody’s getting strapped
    Tons o’ guns got to watch the way you act
    Tons o’ guns real easy to get
    Tons o’ guns bringing nothing but death
    Tons o’ guns but I don’t glorify
    ’cos more guns will come and much more will die
    Why, yo I don’t know black
    Some motherfuckers just be living like that
    They like to feel the chrome in their hands
    The shit makes them feel like little big man
    Twelve years old catching wreck
    ’cos there ain’t no supervision putting kids in check
    People get wounded, others they perish
    And what about the mother and the child she cherish
    The city is wild up steps the wild child
    Tension anger living in danger
    What the fuck you gonna do in a situation
    It’s like you need to have steel just to feel relaxation
    Tons o’ guns

  • Sam

    You should see the schoolbooks is Saudi Arabia. None of this is a surprise to me. The Palestinians PR folk have long cultivated an appearance of them minding their own business when big bad Israel came and started a war with them for no reason whatsoever. The hypocrisy is sickening.

  • Sam I agree.

  • Ryan S.

    jdledell,
    Those where probably othodox textbooks. They do tend to be rather biased. However, ‘normal’ Israeli textbook are more than fair.
    Here’s a good sight. Teach Kids Peace

    Kind of OT but did anyone catch this piece on NPR? Kind of scary I hope that isn’t a sign of things to come.

  • Ryan S.

    Heck, while your at it sign their petition.

  • Kevin H

    Ryan, the report is 4-5 years old. While it might still be valid it would be nice to see something more recent.

    It also strikes me as odd that TKP give a full report on palestine every year, but doesn’t counter-ballance that with a study on israeli text books. Seems to me they have already made up their mind about which side is right and which is wrong.

  • Rudi

    Sam Have you been to SA and do you read Arabic? I wonder which SA textbooks are on the Discovery Instititute approval list?

  • Ryan S.

    Heh, Did never go to public school? Some/most of my textbooks were nearly 20 years old. So 4-5 years isn’t to bad. That and the squeaky wheel.

  • jdledell

    “jdledell: great links and research you posted on that…”

    Michael – Aside from this being a snarky line, I had assumed that most of the people who read this blog would have known about Tamir’s proposal, it was headline news in all the Israeli papers. But here is a link from an article by Gershom Gorenberg about the basic map situation in Israel.

    http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewWeb&articleId=12281

    Obviously, I don’t know how to do the links properly at this site so I rarely do so. As far as the textbooks go, I’ll see if my brother-in-law and nephew can scan and send me some stuff.

  • jdledell

    Why are we talking about Saudi textbooks? What does that have to do with Israel and Palestine? Just because somewhere in the world people are doing stuff that we don’t agree with and may be inappropriate does NOT justify anyone else’s actions. Hell, my daughter-in-law is from Ulan Bator, Mongolia and their textbooks call Ghengis Khan a great humanitarian. So What!

  • Kevin H

    I went to public school, and did have 10 year old text books, but I also didn’t live in an area with intense international scrutiny, and the books we’re very criticised for their lack of ballance. I’d also suspect that the turnover of textbooks in the ME is a lot higher exactly because of the high scrutiny.

    My point is that TKP has already decided which wheel is sqeaking louder, which isn’t the right way to go about things. Every scientist knows that if you want an objective evaluation of the difference between two groups you must watch those groups with the exact same methods.

    I’d be willing to bet that even in that objective analysis you would find more things wrong with the PA run schools, but I wouldn’t want to pretend that what has been presented so far is a balanced comparison.

  • Sam

    “Why are we talking about Saudi textbooks? What does that have to do with Israel and Palestine?”

    Because its indicative of a very pervasive intolerance that isn’t just limited to small fringe groups. Instead it enjoys popular support and is taught in the schools. And perhaps there is a reciprocal program in Israel I haven’t heard of that uses the same outright dehumanizing language and advocates extermination of non-Jews. I’ll do some more checking.

  • Sam

    Oh, and I don’t read Arabic nor have I been to Saudi Arabia. I am just a humble english speaking american who relies on whatever news comes across his path, such as:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/19/AR2006051901769.html

  • Saudi Arabia is a source of intolerance and religious fundamentalism? Say it aint so…

  • jdledell

    Sam -I acknowledge that Saudia Arabia is totally intolerant of any other religions except Islam. No other religions or even their books are allowed in the country. Believe me, one’s luggage is checked at the airport so that no terrible things like a Bible is smuggled in. So what does this have to do with Israel/Palestine? It’s incrimination by association – not really a fair way to argue a point.

  • Sam

    I brought it up becaues I’d read similar articles about public schoolbooks in Saudi Arabia. Its not just happening in Palestine, nor is it new to the region.

  • Elrod

    Frankly, the only thing truly objectionable is the religious references. If your grandparents lived in Palestine and were forcibly removed from their homes, why should use think anything but negative thoughts about Israel? Should Cherokee textbooks refer to the Trail of Tears as a moment that advanced the cause of freedom in Georgia? Fortunately, the rest of America has come to accept the horrible treatment of Native Americans – but this only after hundreds of years of refusal. One day Israel will do the same. As an American Jew, I hope it happens sooner and not later.

  • Frankly, the only thing truly objectionable is the religious references. If your grandparents lived in Palestine and were forcibly removed from their homes, why should use think anything but negative thoughts about Israel? Should Cherokee textbooks refer to the Trail of Tears as a moment that advanced the cause of freedom in Georgia? Fortunately, the rest of America has come to accept the horrible treatment of Native Americans – but this only after hundreds of years of refusal. One day Israel will do the same. As an American Jew, I hope it happens sooner and not later.

    listen to elrod, people

  • “Palestine’s war ended with a catastrophe that is unprecedented in history, when the Zionist gangs stole Palestine and expelled its people from their cities, their villages, their lands and their houses, and established the State of Israel.â€?

    Some truth to it. This is about what happened in 1948/49. But of course, the book should mention the role of neighboring arab nations and of extremist palestinian leaders, too.

  • “So what does this have to do with Israel/Palestine?”

    Well, as long as even Saudi Arabia can’t be convinced to publish more tolerant textbooks, it’s a bit hypocrittical to expect this from people who are still suffering under the repercussions of 48/49.

    And it has to be asked, why should palestinians hold a more positive view of Israel? What has Israel ever done to overcome the hatred? The only thing that comes to mind is Oslo, and besides that Israelis now seem to view it as a mistake, it didn’t really stop the illegal annexation of the terrirories, nor did it result in a lasting improvement of palestinian living conditions. Israeli policy towards the palestinians is only sticks, where are the carrots?

  • “listen to elrod, people”

    Indeed. Elrod and jd are providing desperately needed voices of sanity in this discussion.

  • Sam

    Ok Gray, so this is what it boils down to. You don’t think Israel should have been created at all in 1947? That the powers that be after WWII did not have the authority or the right to define both Palestine and Israel as states in the aftermath of that colossal conflict?

    At the time of its formation in 1947, 1 of 3 people living in that area were jewish. It wasn’t all palestinian folks that got moved around.

    Also, guess whose side the arabs fought on in WWII? Not only did they not lose autonomy after the war which is unusual for the defeated, they actually became an independent nation for the first time ever. Not part of Syria or Jordan, Palestine was actually a nation in its own right, and so now was Israel. The arabs did no have sole claim to that land, not thru population or thru history, or thru legal right. WWI and II had seen to that.

  • “You don’t think Israel should have been created at all in 1947?”
    I didn’t say that. Actually, imho the problem is that the Israelis never acknoledged that the creation of their nation was only possible by doing the palestinians wrong. Israelis never tried to compensate the victims, arguing instead that it’s balanced by the ousting of Jews at other arab countries. As if two wrongs can make one right. No, sry, imho Israel is responsible for all the hatred, too.

  • “Not only did they not lose autonomy after the war which is unusual for the defeated, they actually became an independent nation for the first time ever. Not part of Syria or Jordan, Palestine was actually a nation in its own right, and so now was Israel.”

    What are you talking about? Palestine wasn’t autonomous. Where did you get that weird idea? This is what happened:
    “Under the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916, it was envisioned that most of Palestine, when freed from Ottoman control, would become an international zone not under direct French or British colonial control. Shortly thereafter, British foreign minister Arthur Balfour issued the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which laid plans for a Jewish homeland to be established in Palestine eventually.

    The British-led Egyptian Expeditionary Force, commanded by Edmund Allenby, captured Jerusalem on 9 December, 1917 and occupied the whole of the Levant following the defeat of Turkish forces in Palestine at the Battle of Megiddo in September 1918.[9]”

    “British Mandate (1920–1948)”

    Autonomy? When? Are you on drugs?

  • Sam

    Palestine had autonomy after WWII, not WWI. The same time Israel was made a nation, so was Palestine.

  • domajot

    Rehashing the past to the exclusion of considering how best to go forward hurts all parties.
    The Americas are not going to be returned to the Indians, no matter how unjustly they were treated. The world is not fair. We should think about what ‘fair treatment’ should consist of in today’s world. Acknowledge the wrongs of the past and move on.

    The Palestinians are hurting themselves by focusing their attention on the past to the exclusion of working to build a better future.
    What they need most is fair treatment under existing conditions, establishing a civil governance system and a stable future for their children. The factional fighting and killing between Fatah and Hamas are self-destructive in the extreme.

    The Israelis are hurting themselves by failing to recognize that some of their policies, like establishing more and more communities in the West Bank, are serving to further enrage the Palstinians, which in the long run, increases the threat to their future. They hide behind the holocaust of the past to avoid dealing with the present fairly and rationally.

    There will be no hope for a better future until both sides recognize that it is more important than the past.

    A Muslim group in the US visited the holocaust memorial to say to the holocaust deniers ‘you do not speak for us’. What Jewish or American group has extended sympathy to a Muslim group when their Mosque is destroyed in fighting? Sometimes its the small extemded hamd that can move mountains toward each other. My hope is that everyone would stop harping on what’s wrong with ‘them’ and start asking what they, themselves can do to move those mountains.

  • “Palestine had autonomy after WWII, not WWI. The same time Israel was made a nation, so was Palestine.”

    Uh, would you pls point to any serious sources supporting this? ‘Palestine’ was occupied by Jordan after the 48/49 war. There has never been a palestinian government during this time.

    “The neighboring Arab states and armies (Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Transjordan, Holy War Army, Arab Liberation Army, and local Arabs) immediately attacked Israel following its declaration of independence, and the 1948 Arab-Israeli War ensued. Consequently, the partition plan was never implemented.”

    “Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and neighboring Arab states eliminated Palestine as a distinct territory. With the establishment of Israel, the remaining lands were divided amongst Egypt, Syria and Jordan.”

    Really, where do you get your history lessons, Sam? You should complain to get your money back. This is ridiculous.

  • “What Jewish or American group has extended sympathy to a Muslim group when their Mosque is destroyed in fighting?”

    Indeed. I really hope there are some examples on local levels. Even tiny steps would help in reducing the tensions.

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