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The Politics of Palestinian Textbooks (excerpts)

The Journal of Palestine Studies commented on the effect that revelation of the hateful incitement in Palestinian Authority textbooks has had on various governments around the world.

… research director, Itamar Marcus … issued a report that claims to be an “evaluation” of Palestinian textbooks. Entitled “The New Palestinian Authority School Textbooks,” the report states the following principal conclusion:
Ever since the PA [Palestinian Authority] became responsible for education in 1994, Palestinian children have been learning from their schoolbooks to identify Israel as the evil colonialist enemy who stole their land… The new PA schoolbooks fail to teach their children to see Israel as a neighbor with whom peaceful relations are expected. They do not teach acceptance of Israel’s existence on the national level, nor do they impart tolerance of individual Jews on the personal level…
President Bill Clinton drew attention to the issue just before leaving office in remarks at the Israel Policy Forum in New York, when he called on the Palestinians to change the “culture of violence and the culture of incitement that, since Oslo, has gone unchecked.” The president went on to say, “Young [Palestinian] children still are being educated to believe in confrontation with Israel.” Six months later, his wife, by that time Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, held a joint press conference with fellow New York senator Charles Schumer to denounce the “hateful, anti-Israel rhetoric in official Palestinian … schoolbooks.”
Pro-Israeli lawmakers demanded that Secretary of State Madeleine Albright use her good offices to make sure that UNESCO and the World Bank stop funding the publication of textbooks by the PA. The U.S. Congress also demanded that UNRWA stop using these textbooks in UNRWA-run schools.
What is beyond dispute is that the effects of CMIP's campaign have already been nothing short of disastrous. In December 2000, for example, the Italian government, referring directly to the CMIP study, informed the Palestinians that it could no longer finance the development of the new Palestinian school curriculum. At the same time, the World Bank notified the PA Ministry of Education that money allocated for the development of school texts and teacher training would have to be diverted to other projects. This rush to judgment has led to similar reactions by a number of other donor countries…
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