An Attempt to Revise Palestinian Textbooks Fails

Feb. 24 2022

In June 2021, the European Union (EU) released a long-awaited report on Palestinian Authority (PA) curricula for schoolchildren, finding that the educational materials promote anti-Semitism and glorify terrorism, among other things. In response to this report and subsequent pressure by EU officials, the PA agreed to revise Palestinian textbooks. As Marcus Sheff reports, the promised reforms have not taken place.

By September 2021, the PA—finally faced with the prospect of losing funding from its largest donor—agreed to a “roadmap” with the EU Commission. This should have been the moment that hate, anti-Semitism, and incitement to violence were finally taken out of the Palestinian curriculum, and replaced with peace education.

That is what the EU had hoped would happen. But, predictably, it did not. The Palestinian Authority had simply taken all of the 2020 textbooks, replaced the date stamp with 2021, and reprinted thousands of copies. This was done without telling the European Union, throwing the roadmap to the wind. The European Commission was not even aware this had happened until IMPACT-se presented them with its report.

But this was just the beginning. Even as the PA agreed to a roadmap for textbook change with the EU, its Ministry of Education was writing thousands of pages of new material—study cards—roughly equivalent in size to all the textbooks in the curriculum. The material, in some places, contained content even worse than the current Palestinian textbooks, with a greater number of lessons that directly incite violence and propagate overt anti-Semitism.

Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Anti-Semitism, European Union, Palestinian Authority

Russia’s Alliance with Hizballah Is Growing Stronger

Tehran’s ongoing cooperation with Moscow has recently garnered public attention because of the Kremlin’s use of Iranian arms against Ukraine, but it extends much further, including to the Islamic Republic’s Lebanese proxy, Hizballah. Aurora Ortega and Matthew Levitt explain:

Over the last few years, Russia has quietly extended its reach into Lebanon, seeking to cultivate cultural, economic, and military ties in Beirut as part of a strategy to expand Russian influence in the Middle East, while sidelining the U.S. and elevating Moscow’s role as a peacemaker.

Russia’s alliance with Hizballah was born out of the conflict in Syria, where Russian and Hizballah forces fought side-by-side in an alliance with the Assad regime. For years, this alliance appeared strictly limited to military activity in Syria, but in 2018, Hizballah and Russia began to engage in unprecedented joint sanctions-evasion activities. . . . In November 2018, the U.S. Department of the Treasury exposed a convoluted trade-based oil-smuggling sanctions-evasion scheme directed by Hizballah and [Iran].

The enhanced level of collaboration between Russia and Hizballah is not limited to sanctions evasion. In March 2021, Hizballah sent a delegation to Moscow, on its second-ever “diplomatic” visit to the country. Unlike its first visit a decade prior, which was enveloped in secrecy with no media exposure, this visit was well publicized. During their three days in Moscow, Hizballah representatives met with various Russian officials, including the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. . . . Just three months after this visit to Moscow, Hizballah received the Russian ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Rudakov in Beirut to discuss further collaboration on joint projects.

Read more at Royal United Services Institute

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Lebanon, Russia