Last week The Jerusalem Post reported that a recent study of Palestinian Authority textbooks found that the ones used in Palestinian schools are preparing students “for a continuous and long-range confrontation against the State of Israel in order to achieve the final goal, which is the establishment of the State of Palestine that will stretch on the entire territory of the Land of Israel.”

The study, conducted by Dr. Arnon Gross of the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, who was assisted by David Bedein of the Center for Near East Policy Research, surveyed nearly 400 textbooks that were in use by Palestinian schools between 2013 and 2020, as well as over 100 teacher guides from 2018.

They found three main strands of indoctrination running though the texts: delegitimization of the State of Israel’s existence, including the denial of Jewish holy sites within Israel; demonization of Israel and the Jews, who are regularly referred to as “the Zionist enemy”; and incitement to violent struggle to reclaim the whole of Israel as Palestine, with no education for peace and co-existence.

“Schoolbooks are specifically important in societies in conflict, because they indicate the narrative the leadership and society strive to instill in the minds of the younger generation,” the report notes. “The schoolbooks issued by the Palestinian Authority indicate, then, the essence of the narrative as far as the conflict with Israel is concerned. It is learned from the PA schoolbooks and teachers’ guides that the education of the younger Palestinian generation prepares it consciously for a continuous and long-range confrontation against the State of Israel in order to achieve the final goal, which is the establishment of the State of Palestine that will stretch on the entire territory of the Land of Israel. There is no trace in the schoolbooks of the argumentation disseminated by the Palestinian Authority in the international arena that the Palestinian Authority is committed to “a just peace” based on the two-state solution.”

The full report is here.

The schoolbooks vehemently deny the Jewish past of the Land of Israel and call it “legends”. This is a new argument, as the former schoolbooks included pieces that dealt with Jewish history in the Land of Israel in antiquity. The non-recognition of Jerusalem as a holy city to Jews, however, has been there all along.

Aside from the general problems – denial of Israel’s legitimacy, promoting violence – the Palestinian textbooks also glorify terrorists. The Post reported that a fifth-grade history text described the notorious terrorist, Dalal Mughrabi, as a “’female martyr’ who ‘painted with her struggle a picture of challenging and heroism which have made her memory eternal in our hearts and minds.’” Mughrabi was the leader of the terror cell that carried out the 1978 Coastal Road massacre leaving 38 Israelis, among them 13 children, dead.

It’s interesting that the Israeli far-left newspaper, Haaretz, last week featured a story accusing Israel of having racist textbooks. The Haaretz article got some play on Twitter including from University of Maryland Professor Shibley Telhami.

Despite the claims in the Haaretz article that Israeli textbooks engage in “interpretive denial” of the Palestinians, a 2016 IMPACT-se study found that Israeli texts “recognize existence of the Palestinian National Movement and events regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are, as a rule, given in a balanced and impartial manner, especially in comparison to textbooks published in previous years.” IMPACT-se is an organization that studies Middle Eastern – especially Palestinian – textbooks for signs of bias. The study also confirms that Israeli texts promote the idea of coexistence with the Palestinians, which is diametrically opposed to Palestinian textbooks’ denial of Israel’s right to exist and the promotion of terror and violence.

Of course, viciously anti-Israel and antisemitic Palestinian textbooks are nothing new.

Miriam Elman had written a couple of earlier reports on this phenomenon.

In November 2017, she cited a report by IMPACT-se that found that the textbooks don’t speak of peace, encourage martyrdom, and justify violence against Israel. The study was later used by Sen. Todd Young (R – IN) to ask a State Department nominee, “Do you commit to looking into this issue, reporting back to my office within 90 days with a plan to ensure that U.S. tax dollars are not supporting the use of textbooks that foster hate, hate towards Israel, support terrorism or degrade women?”

The importance of exposing the extremism of the Palestinian textbooks was enunciated by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said in January 2014, “You see it in the state-controlled media – the government-controlled media – in the schools, in textbooks, in kindergartens. You see it at every part of Palestinian society. So instead of preparing Palestinians for peace, Palestinian leaders are teaching them to hate Israel. This is not the way to achieve peace.”

One can agree or disagree with the Israeli decision to extend Israeli law to parts of the West Bank, but unless the Palestinians stop teaching hate and resentment and refuse to accept Israel’s legitimacy, there will never be peace.

Here is a prior TV report on the problem:


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