Following the exposure of an unpublished EU report on Palestinian textbooks last week by German newspaper BILD, several lawmakers called on the EU to make the report public, writes Yossi Lempkowicz.
IMPACT-se, a research and policy institute that monitors and analyzes education, obtained a copy of the report, which found that Palestinian textbooks – funded by the EU – contain anti-Semitism, incite children to hatred and violence and delegitimizes the State of Israel.
In 2019, Federica Mogherini, then EU foreign policy chief, told EU lawmakers that the European Union would fund a study on Palestinian textbooks “with a view to identifying possible incitement to hatred and violence and any possible non-respect of the peace and peace standards of UNESCO. tolerance in education. ”
Originally commissioned in 2019, the final report has been delayed for two years and has yet to be made public.
A tracking piece daily BILD said the Commission misled policy makers who requested a copy of the report and was refused on the grounds that it had not yet been “finalized” despite the report submitted by the institute. exam in March.
The German government called on the EU to make the report public, citing public interest and concerns over whether German taxpayers’ money is being used to finance hate. A spokesman for the German Development Ministry said BILD that “a confidential draft of the study is available. The federal government has repeatedly advocated publication vis-à-vis the EU. The EU has now promised it.
A member of the Bundestag, the German federal parliament, Frank Müller-Rosentritt of the FDP party, also called for the publication, saying that “anything else would call into question the strategy of the federal government in the fight against anti-Semitism. We cannot speak in Germany of wanting to intensify this fight while financing the production of school books which call for terror against the Jews.
A German member of the European Parliament for the European People’s Party (EPP), Niclas Herbst, who is vice-chairman of the European Parliament’s budgetary affairs committee, criticized the EU for hiding the report: “The secrecy of the Commission European Union is counterproductive and incomprehensible.
He called for a 5% reserve on EU funding to the PA and UNRWA, saying that withheld funds should be redirected to NGOs that adhere to UNESCO standards until the PA removes all hatred and incitement from its textbooks.
The EU directly funds the salaries of Palestinian teachers and textbook publishers.
IMPACT-se, which for textbook analysis uses international standards on peace and tolerance as derived from UNESCO declarations and resolutions to determine compliance and advocate for change if necessary, has received a copy and independently assessed the EU report. While it does not review the entire program and is a bit lacking, it does confirm many of IMPACT-se’s own findings.
The EU report says Palestinian textbooks promote anti-Semitism, encourage violence, erase peace agreements and delegitimize Israel.
The European Parliament passed a resolution last year calling for making financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority conditional on textbooks that meet the standards of peace and tolerance. Clearly not publishing the report is not an effective strategy. The EU must finally act to eradicate hatred and demand a peace program for Palestinian schoolchildren, ” said IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff.
Despite the critical nature of the report, the conclusion of the review institute, the Georg Eckert Institute, that textbooks still meet UNESCO standards is challenged by BILD which states that this conclusion is incompatible with the body of the report and with the EU itself, which clearly does not believe that full membership has been achieved.
An EU spokesperson said it “takes this study seriously and will act on its findings, where appropriate, to ensure full compliance with UNESCO standards in all educational materials Palestinians “.
What does the report say?
Textbooks persist in promoting anti-Semitism and hatred of Jews. “While the use of the term ‘Jew يهودي yah’d’ and its derivatives in textbooks may indicate religious and cultural tolerance, it also occurs with anti-Jewish prejudices. “
Jews are considered enemies of Islam. “For example, lesson 10 of the year 8 / II book, […] tackles the battle of banū qurayḍah; […] While this lesson does not explicitly refer to the Jews as traitors and does refer in passing to the Jewish allies of the Prophet Muhammad, it still has the clear potential to be seen as a story portraying the Jews as the enemy.
The report confirms the removal of all peace accord summits and proposals that were previously included in the Palestinian curriculum after the Oslo accords have been removed, including “the omission of the passage that talks about starting a new era of peaceful coexistence without violence reflects the current situation between the two parties, which does not provide a roadmap towards non-violence and peace acceptable to all parties involved.
The curriculum deliberately delegitimizes and demonizes Israel. For example, a 9e Arabic textbook that presents students with a collage of a Palestinian child and Israeli soldiers. The report states that “the montage suggests that the Israeli sniper was deliberately targeting the little boy, thus producing a demonizing portrayal of the ‘other’; in this case the Israeli soldier. The text also involves a fundamental wickedness and inherent barbarity of soldiers who fake their weapons, as shown in the text, on children crossing the street. The story and its visualization portray the Israeli soldiers as aggressive and insidious, hiding behind concrete barriers while shooting children.
The textbooks encourage violence, especially against Israel. “Regarding the acts of violence committed by the Palestinian side against Israel, Arabic language textbooks describe the violence as a heroic struggle. “
Call for an investigation into UNWRA
in another development, a group of 26 multi-party MEPs from all major parties in the European Parliament, initiated by Swedish MP David Lega and Slovak MP Miriam Lexmann, both from the EPP group, wrote to the European Commission and the secretary UN General Antonio Guterres demanding an investigation into UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, for anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in UNRWA educational materials.
The letter expressed concern over: “UNRWA’s continued use of hate school materials that encourage violence, reject peace and demonize both Israel and the Jewish people. We deeply deplore the agency’s lack of oversight, transparency and accountability over repeated disclosures of teaching hatred and incitement to Palestinian children in the care of UNRWA.
He condemns the use of European taxpayers’ money to finance the teaching of anti-Semitic hatred and aggravation.
The letter called on Secretary-General Guterres to demand that UNRWA promptly disclose all teaching materials for teachers and students in Arabic used in its courses as well as the functioning and findings of reviews of host State programs it leads, which allegedly ensure that the handbooks “align with UN values”, which UNRWA has so far refused to publish.