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

Dec. 28 2016

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

Putting Aside the Pious Lies about the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Jan. 23 2018

In light of recent developments, including Mahmoud Abbas’s unusually frank speech to the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s leadership, Moshe Arens advocates jettisoning some frequently mouthed but clearly false assumptions about Israel’s situation, beginning with the idea that the U.S. should act as a neutral party in negotiations between Jerusalem and Ramallah. (Free registration may be required.)

The United States cannot be, and has never been, neutral in mediating the Israel-Palestinian conflict. It is the leader of the world’s democratic community of nations and cannot assume a neutral position between democratic Israel and the Palestinians, whether represented by an autocratic leadership that glorifies acts of terror or by Islamic fundamentalists who carry out acts of terror. . . .

In recent years the tectonic shifts in the Arab world, the lower price of oil, and the decreased importance attached to the Palestinian issue in much of the region, have essentially removed the main incentive the United States had in past years to stay involved in the conflict. . . .

Despite the conventional wisdom that the core issues—such as Jerusalem or the fate of Israeli settlements beyond the 1949 armistice lines—are the major stumbling blocks to an agreement, the issue for which there seems to be no solution in sight at the moment is making sure that any Israeli military withdrawal will not result in rockets being launched against Israel’s population centers from areas that are turned over to the Palestinians. . . .

Does that mean that Israel is left with a choice between a state with a Palestinian majority or an apartheid state, as claimed by Israel’s left? This imaginary dilemma is based on a deterministic theory of history, which disregards all other possible alternatives in the years to come, and on questionable demographic predictions. What the left is really saying is this: better rockets on Tel Aviv than a continuation of Israeli military control over Judea and Samaria. There is little support in Israel for that view.

Read more at Haaretz

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Mahmoud Abbas, Peace Process, US-Israel relations