An Attempt to Revise Palestinian Textbooks Fails

February 24, 2022 | Marcus Sheff
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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.

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