JERUSALEM, Israel – The Palestinian Authority has failed to remove educational materials that incite children to violence and teach them anti-Semitism, according to a report from an Israeli education watchdog.
Last year, the PA agreed to work with European leaders to address the issues in Palestinian textbooks after an EU-funded study found that the education materials glorify terrorists, delegitimize Israel and reject peace.
After the 2021 study was made public, European Commission spokesperson, Ana Pisonero, said the EU would work with the PA to establish an “objective and credible process for screening and monitoring of educational materials.”
However, the Israeli nonprofit IMPACT-SE says the Palestinian textbooks remain unchanged.
“Despite the recognition by all of the PA curriculum’s serious problematic content, commitments to education reform, and the alleged implementation of promised education monitoring processes, IMPACT-SE found that there were no revisions made to the PA curriculum for the current 2021–22 school year,” IMPACT-SE said in a report published this month.
The organization pointed to numerous examples. Israel is characterized as satanic and students are “directly incited to violence and instructed to commit jihad against Israelis and die as martyrs,” the IMPACT-SE report says. The textbooks also accuse Israel of lying about Jewish history to justify its existence and promote terrorists as role models for children – including Dalal Mughrabi – who is known for her role in a 1978 terror attack that killed 38 civilians, including 13 children.
In one education book, children are taught that Jews control world events and that Zionism is a “racist ideology.”
“The PA did not revise its curriculum, despite promises to international partners that it would do so; and the PA Ministry of Education is still investing resources to produce and teach violent and hateful content in the current school year through parallel teaching materials (study cards). In fact, some of the lessons taught in these study cards represent a worsening of problematic material compared to lessons taught in the original textbooks they are supposed to supplement,” IMPACT-SE concluded.
The PA denies that its textbooks incite violence and merely promote Palestinian nationalism.
“We are made to explain and justify what appears in our educational materials, even though it explains our narrative and our national identity. Meanwhile, no one demands to review Israeli curricula and media, so the world can see the true incitement by Israeli institutions,” PA President Mahmoud Abbas said in an address at the UN last year.
The EU is the largest donor to the PA, and some leaders have said aid to the Palestinians must be conditional upon changes to textbook material.
EU Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi, whose portfolio covers aid to the PA and UNRWA, said in June that the problematic material in Palestinian textbooks is “inappropriate use of EU funding.
Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League urged the EU to “hold the Palestinian Authority accountable” for the unchanged curriculum.
IMPACT-SE head Marcus Sheff said in a statement that the Palestinian Authority “seems to have gone to a great deal of effort to hoodwink its donors.”