Radicalization is pervasive across new curriculum, and much worse than before.
For years we’ve been covering incitement on the part of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its failure to prepare Palestinian society for a resolution of the conflict via non-violent means.
The PA is viewed by the West as the ‘moderate’ Palestinian body and Israel’s supposed ‘partner for peace’, but as we’ve repeatedly highlighted, its officials routinely demonize Israel and glorify terrorists as national heroes. Young people are exposed to this radicalization, as schools and educational programs justify and condone the use of violence.
Now a new study (also here, if doesn’t open) by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) documents how kids in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas are being further indoctrinated to hate through their schoolbooks.
Like earlier textbooks that were used to teach “over one million impressionable children”, the IMPACT-se report finds that the new textbooks—recently released as part of the PA’s first full reform of the educational curriculum since 2000—are still promoting the demonization of Israel.
But the IMPACT-se assessment also finds that the radicalization is pervasive across this new curriculum—to an even greater extent than before.
Basically, Palestinian children are being groomed to commit to jihad war and to sacrifice themselves to martyrdom.
— Ofir Gendelman (@ofirgendelman) November 1, 2017
Below I present the central findings of the new IMPACT-se report, “Reform or Radicalization: PA 2017-18 Curriculum, a Preliminary Review”, and highlight a dozen examples from the textbooks which are presented and evaluated in the report. A statement from the CEO of IMPACT-se Marcus Sheff exclusive for Legal Insurrection is also included below.
Key findings of the new IMPACT-se review of the PA 2017-18 curriculum
IMPACT-se is a Jerusalem-based research and policy organization that monitors and analyzes education globally, with a specific focus on the Middle East.
The group employs UNESCO standards on the teaching of peace and tolerance to determine compliance and to advocate for change. IMPACT-se aims to prevent the radicalization of children and youth and is dedicated to peacemaking between peoples by encouraging acceptance of the ‘other’ and the rejection of violence.
Founded in 1998, the organization posts all of its many reports and studies online. There are multiple reports for countries across the Middle East. But the Palestinian Authority is clearly a major focus of interest for IMPACT-se. It’s already released thirteen prior studies devoted to evaluating the Palestinian Authority’s educational curriculum.
The latest IMPACT-se 106 page report (also here, if doesn’t open) is a preliminary study of the PA’s reformed school curriculum for Grades 5-11. It analyzes the content of 66 textbooks used in these grades (further research will assess the new curriculum for the full Grades 1-12).
A number of findings stand out:
- There is no mention of peace as a political concept;
- Dying for Palestine is better than living, and those who choose personal success and careers are cowards and traitors to the cause;
- Violence and war against Israel are permanent and justified, and jihad is the most important aspect of life;
- Islam is characterized as a religion of war rather than of peace and children are warned not to abandon jihad war; and
- Pan-Islamism and pan-Arabism are enhanced, at the expense of a separate Palestinian identity, and there’s an effort to inculcate a distrust of the West.
IMPACT-se researchers Dr. Eldad J. Pardo, Arik Agassi and Marcus Sheff find that there’s literally zero mentions of peace in the new texts. The textbooks don’t include anything about past Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, or any of the accords and agreements that have been signed.
Previous textbooks actually did mention the “Two State Solution”, the Oslo Accords and the PLO-Israel Letters of Mutual Recognition, for example. But references to these are nowhere to be found in the new curriculum.
As the authors note,
The curriculum rejects negotiations with Israel. Instead, school children are taught that a Palestinian state will be achieved through martyrdom, violence, and religious war.”
Basically, the PA’s new textbooks are even worse than the ones used in years past to teach Palestinian kids—before the PA undertook the process of reforming its school curriculum in 2016. The previous textbooks were already deplorable, in terms of demonizing Israel and failing to prepare Palestinian children for peace and coexistence.
But the new schoolbooks are downright appalling.
They encourage Palestinians to become “expendable martyrs”; infuse the Palestinian nationalist struggle with an Islamist and even “obvious Salafist” influence; fail to mention the ancient Jewish presence in the Holy Land; and depict modern Jewish communal life there as a criminal act.
It’s all chilling.
But to my mind one of the most disturbing entries is a violent passage in one of the schoolbooks, where the text refers to the fate of six million “usurper and foreign” Jews living in Israel after it’s liberated by the Palestinians. For the first time in a PA-issued textbook, a poem calls for these Jews to be “annihilated” and “eliminated”:
Selected examples from the PA textbooks in the IMPACT-se study
The 106 page new IMPACT-se study provides scores of examples of radicalization across the Grades 5-11 curriculum.
You actually have to see it to believe it. Here are 12 selected examples, but dozens more can be found in the online report:
IMPACT-Se presents its report to European donors
The IMPACT-se research team have recently embarked on a European tour to present the findings of their latest report to the major European countries that directly fund PA education.
It looks like the meetings are proving productive.
A pleasure to speak at the German @Bundestag today for @IMPACT_SE as guests of Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin @MFFB_berlin hosted by MP Johannes Kahrs. Followed fruitful meetings at German Foreign Ministry @GermanyDiplo and @BMZ_Bund @giz_gmbh agencies. pic.twitter.com/FJ8Wer8PFK
— Marcus Sheff (@marcusjsheff) November 10, 2017
.@IMPACT_SE CEO @marcusjsheff & COO @arikagassi conclude a series of high level briefings in #Brussels with @Europarl_EN @eu_eeas @commission discussing importance of curricula as a barrier to #Radicalization and status of #peace & #tolerance standards in #MiddleEast #textbooks. pic.twitter.com/j1Jxk5GI7C
— IMPACT-SE (@IMPACT_SE) November 8, 2017
True pleasure & fabulous experience meeting @r_czarnecki Vice President of @Europarl_EN discussing importance of curricula as a barrier to #Radicalization & current status of #peace and #tolerance standards in #MiddleEast #school textbooks. @IMPACT_SE pic.twitter.com/r2qD1Y74MP
— Arik Agassi (@arikagassi) November 8, 2017
— Marcus Sheff (@marcusjsheff) November 6, 2017
You can watch here the EU Reporter interview with Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-SE on the importance of the new curriculum study:
Statement from IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff
I reached out to IMPACT-se in order to get a better sense of how the educational watchdog group hopes its latest report will be used to rectify the PA’s abysmal failure to comply with international standards of peace and tolerance in its textbooks.
Here’s what CEO Marcus Sheff relayed to me via email:
For the countries that fund the PA and its Ministry of Education, it has taken some time for understanding to dawn of the gaping dissonance between their values and the values espoused in the Palestinian curriculum.
Over the last couple of weeks while presenting our report on the new, reformed PA textbooks to parliaments and government officials at the European Union, in the UK and at the key donor nations, Germany, Belgium and Finland, the shock at the extreme levels of radicalization in the curriculum they help support is palpable.
The strategy of the PA to encourage young Palestinians to sacrifice themselves to martyrdom, the fetishization of violence and war and the prevalence of Jihadi and sometimes Salafi themes and has now become too bold to be ignored.
Will this be turned into action? These countries’ donor strategies to the PA are predicated around preparation for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. But peace and mutual recognition are not even featured in the new PA curriculum.
Ultimately, if these countries want a return on the efforts of thousands of government employees and the many billions of dollars of taxpayer money over two decades, they will need to finally say to the PA, ‘enough’.”
Comparing the PA textbooks to Israel’s curriculum
As meticulously documented in a new study by IMPACT-se, the current Palestinian Authority textbooks for middle schoolers and high schoolers glorify violence and terrorism and encourage young people to embrace a commitment to continuous war.
They feature math questions that ask students to calculate how many martyrs died in the first and second intifadas. They depict “Palestine” as covering all of Israel—and the word “peace” doesn’t appear even once.
In this regard, it’s worth noting that the Israeli state-produced textbooks don’t call for child martyrdom, repeatedly identify peace as an achievable and worthwhile goal, and present war as a negative outcome (albeit one that’s sometimes necessary).
Maps in Israeli textbooks note the physical presence of Palestinians, and demarcate Palestinian cities and villages within and beyond the Green Line.
Israeli textbooks also acknowledge an Arab presence in Israel before 1948 and even include aspects of the Palestinian narrative by teaching about the Nakba and Palestinian losses and suffering:
Basically, Israel’s government carefully crafts the public school curriculum in order to evoke among the country’s youth an intellectual and emotional connection to peace, and to help the kids recognize the plight of the Palestinians. The government also funds multiple educational programs that foster coexistence. Many videos of these various programs can be found online. Here are a few:
No real Israeli-Palestinian peace can emerge in the absence of an active peace-education curriculum. Young people need to be taught that the ‘other’ is a legitimate party and educational programming needs to provide a sustained advocacy of peaceful solutions to the conflict. Israeli government schoolbooks basically have that. Palestinian Authority ones still do not.
Miriam F. Elman is an Associate Professor of Political Science and the Inaugural Robert D. McClure Professor of Teaching Excellence at the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, Syracuse University. She is the editor of five books and the author of over 60 journal articles, book chapters, and government reports on topics related to international and national security, religion and politics, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She also frequently speaks and writes on the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) anti-Israel movement. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @MiriamElmanDONATE
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