The Palestinian Authority’s Real Strategy Can Be Found in Its Textbooks

At a Christmas-eve party, Mahmoud Abbas gave a speech endorsing the creation of a Palestinian state existing alongside Israel “in peace and security” and called for direct negotiations and a neighborly spirit. The best evidence for Abbas’s insincerity, writes Marcus Sheff, lies in the curricula of Palestinian schools:

The current curriculum is made up of nearly 200 books that together represent the single most comprehensive expression of Palestinian national identity and reflect the values that the PA wishes to pass down to future generations. There is enough space and enough subject matter in this large corpus of information for young Palestinians to delve into what exactly Abbas means when he speaks of “living side-by-side with Israel” and “sitting together to negotiate.” But none of this appears in the PA curriculum. No living side-by-side and no sitting together. In fact, the word “peace” does not appear in the curriculum at all.

Instead, the textbooks delegitimize and demonize Israel, including the characterization of Israel as “an evil entity that should be annihilated.” Israel barely intrudes onto textbook maps—the entire area from the Jordan Valley to the Mediterranean Sea is marked as Palestine. Textbooks promote a continual war drawing on a culture of martyrdom and specifically reject negotiations. . . .

This is not an accident. The curriculum studied by generations of young Palestinians is carefully crafted by the Palestinian leadership to lay out a national strategy that alternately combines violence with international pressure against Israel.

In one of many examples, such as in the poem “Palestine,” by Ali Mahmoud Taha, jihad is justified: “O brother, the oppressors have exceeded all bounds, and jihad and sacrifice are necessary” (Reading and Texts, Grade 8, Part 1, 2015, p. 44). A seventh-grade textbook, Our Beautiful Language, refers to pre-1967 Israel as occupied and speaks of the return to it.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Education, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Politics & Current Affairs

 

How the White House Can Bring Mahmoud Abbas to the Negotiating Table

April 28 2017

Next month, the Palestinian Authority president is expected to arrive in Washington to meet with President Trump, perhaps as a prelude to a summit between Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu under American auspices. A Palestinian delegation is currently in the U.S. to conduct preliminary meetings with administration officials. Eran Lerman discusses what can be accomplished:

The most important aspect [in the present discussions] may remain unspoken. It can be defined as “strategic reassurance”: the realization that after years of uncertainty under Barack Obama, the American administration . . . is once again committed without reservation to its friends in the region, the so-called “camp of stability.”

President Obama’s abandonment of [the former Egyptian president], Hosni Mubarak, regardless of the merits of the case, was catastrophic in terms of the loss of any residual political courage on Abbas’s part. Obama was sympathetic to the Palestinians’ cause, but his policies generated an acute level of uncertainty for the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, laced with what seemed like a measure of support on Obama’s part for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and elsewhere. This was not an environment in which to take fateful decisions.

The Trump team seems to be working to restore confidence and reconstruct [alliances with] both Israel and the pro-Western Arab states. In this new environment, it could be safer for Abbas to take measured risks and enter into an open-ended negotiation with Netanyahu. The effort may still fall apart, if only because the Palestinians have fallen into the habit of posing preconditions. But there seems to be a better chance of drawing them in when they feel that their traditional patrons in the Arab world, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are once again basking in the sunshine of American strategic support. . . .

At least in theory, it should therefore be easier now for . . . the White House to persuade Abbas to accept a point of entry into negotiations that stays within the two-state paradigm but is no longer predicated on strict adherence to the June 4, 1967 lines.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Donald Trump, Hosni Mubarak, Israel & Zionism, Mahmoud Abbas, Peace Process, U.S. Foreign policy