Teachers in Palestinian schools are formally instructed to drill into the
minds of their young students the idea that "Zionism is racist and
aggressive," and to implant the value of "wrath toward the alien thief who
stole the homeland and dispersed its people." Such are the chilling
findings of a new expose' released last month by the Palestinian Media
Watch center, headed by Itamar Marcus, based on its comprehensive review of
the official teacher's guides accompanying textbooks used by the
Palestinian Authority in its schools.
For several years now, the center run by Marcus has monitored and
translated from Arabic mainstream Palestinian newspapers, TV and radio
broadcasts, and textbooks used in Palestinian schools for anti-Israel and
anti-Semitic content. In a widely circulated report last year, Marcus found
PA textbooks were filled with inciteful descriptions of Jews and Israelis
as cunning, deceitful and treacherous, and routinely referred to Israel as
the "Zionist enemy" and "oppressors." The new 19-page study reveals that
the official PA guides - which Palestinian teachers are required to use -
contain much the same, instructing educators to saturate the minds of their
students with incitement against Israel and extreme anti-Semitic views.
For example, PA teachers are required to prepare their students for a
"Jihad" (holy war) to liberate all of "Palestine" and to "cherish the Jihad
fighters who quench the earth of Jerusalem with their blood." They are to
instill in their students the idea that "Jews are dangerous enemies of
Allah, Islam and the Arab nation." Students are to asked to emulate the
efforts of Saladin, who liberated Jerusalem from the Crusaders. PA teachers
also are to refer to Israel as the "Zionist occupier," and place it in the
same category as "Facism-Nazism."
Further, Palestinian teachers are to promote Zionism as an example of
European imperialism and colonialism, whose aim is "the elimination of the
original inhabitants of Palestine." And they are instructed to portray Jews
as racial and religious zealots, and to explain this as the reason why Jews
were persecuted over the centuries by Christians.
Meanwhile, new history books introduced in PA schools define Israel as a
"thieving conqueror," while the only map of "Palestine" in new PA textbooks
eliminates the state of Israel, while labeling Haifa, Jaffa, Beersheva, and
the entire Galilee and Negev as Palestinian cities.
With the advent of the Oslo peace process in 1993, Israel pioneered a
curriculum that promoted peace with its Arab neighbors, a program now in
its seventh year that reaches all Israeli pupils. But the PA has maintained
a rigid curriculum that continues to call for the liberation of all of
Palestine, while describing Israel, Jews, and Zionism in the most demonic
of terms. PA officials say in their defense that these books are supplied
by Jordan and Egypt. But this hides the fact that Israel adopted similar
Jordanian and Egyptian textbooks when administering schools for Palestinian
Arabs, but deleted "offensive" sections.
A senior official with the Palestinian Ministry of Education recently
defended the use of the inciteful material exposed by Marcus, saying, "We
are sovereign and we will determine what we will teach our children,
without any interference."
In a recent interview with the JERUSALEM POST, Palestinian mouthpiece Hanan
Ashwari dismissed Marcus' monitoring work as "too much Israeli paranoia and
suspicion," and "highly exaggerated much ado about nothing."
But Marcus - an Israeli member of the largely-ineffective joint
anti-incitement committee set up with the PA and US after the Wye accords -
responded: "If we are continuously portrayed as people who stole their
land, that will breed terror, not peace." He added, "In the long term, this
type of material is going to have a greater impact on peace than what is or
is not going to be signed by Israeli and Palestinians negotiators."
Despite the damaging report, the US has decided to increase its substantial
support of Palestinian education by an additional $10 million grant of