Palestinian Schools Still Teach Hate

Feb. 26 2019

Time and again, Palestinian Authority (PA) officials, as well as administrators for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), have promised their Western backers that they will do away with textbooks that encourage violence and anti-Semitism. Yet a study released last fall by IMPACT-se, an organization that monitors the Palestinian curriculum, shows that there has been no progress to speak of. Marcus Sheff, the organization’s director, describes some of these textbooks and explains how schools that use them continue to get funding from America and Europe:

Newton’s Second Law is taught by way of a slingshot and the image of a violent confrontation. Nine-year-old children in the third grade recite a poem calling for “sacrificing blood” to remove the enemy from the land by “eliminating the usurper” and “annihilat[ing] the remnants of the foreigners.” Young Palestinians are even exhorted to sacrifice themselves. They are taught that jihad is the pinnacle of ambition, that martyrdom for boys and girls is a life goal. In perhaps the ultimate betrayal of young people, they are told that choosing death is better than choosing life. . . .

A long-classified report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the Palestinian curriculum taught in UNRWA schools was obtained by the congressional offices of Lee Zeldin and Scott Perry, and . . . a double deception was uncovered. The report shows that when UNRWA officials responsible for the PA curriculum were presented with irrefutable evidence that American funds had been abused to inculcate intolerance, they pledged to create supplementary materials to rectify the issue. However, the findings further show that UNRWA took no such actions, but instead lied to Washington about having done so. In other words, UNRWA officials were caught red-handed not only deceiving the U.S. government, but having gone to great lengths to avoid teaching the most basic principles of tolerance and respect.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Anti-Semitism, Palestinian Authority, Palestinians, Politics & Current Affairs, UNRWA

How Israel Can Break the Cycle of Wars in Gaza

Last month saw yet another round of fighting between the Jewish state and Gaza-based terrorist groups. This time, it was Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) that began the conflict; in other cases, it was Hamas, which rules the territory. Such outbreaks have been numerous in the years since 2009, and although the details have varied somewhat, Israel has not yet found a way to stop them, or to save the residents of the southwestern part of the country from the constant threat of rocket fire. Yossi Kuperwasser argues that a combination of military, economic, and diplomatic pressure might present an alternative solution:

In Gaza, Jerusalem plays a key role in developing the rules that determine what the parties can and cannot do. Such rules are designed to give the Israelis the ability to deter attacks, defend territory, maintain intelligence dominance, and win decisively. These rules assure Hamas that its rule over Gaza will not be challenged and that, in between the rounds of escalation, it will be allowed to continue its military buildup, as the Israelis seldom strike first, and the government’s responses to Hamas’s limited attacks are always measured and proportionate.

The flaws in such an approach are clear: it grants Hamas the ability to develop its offensive capabilities, increase its political power, and condemn Israelis—especially those living within range of the Gaza Strip—to persistent threats from Hamas terrorists.

A far more effective [goal] would be to rid Israel of Hamas’s threat by disarming it, prohibiting its rearmament, and demonstrating conclusively that threatening Israel is indisputably against its interests. Achieving this goal will not be easy, but with proper preparation, it may be feasible at the appropriate time.

Revisiting the rule according to which Jerusalem remains tacitly committed to not ending Hamas rule in Gaza is key for changing the dynamics of this conflict. So long as Hamas knows that the Israelis will not attempt to uproot it from Gaza, it can continue arming itself and conducting periodic attacks knowing the price it will pay may be heavy—especially if Jerusalem changes the other rules mentioned—but not existential.

Read more at Middle East Quarterly

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israeli Security, Palestinian Islamic Jihad