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PA slams EU for demanding to remove terrorism and incitement from school books

Excerpt of a column by Ramzi Oudeh, regular columnist for the official PA daily


Headline: “A message to Mr. Várhelyi!”



“EU Commissioner [for Neighborhood and Enlargement] on behalf of Hungary Olivér Várhelyi visited the occupied Palestinian territories this month [April 2022] and met senior Palestinian [PA] officials in order to demand that they change the content of the Palestinian schoolbooks as a precondition for continuing the European Union (EU) grant to the PA.Várhelyi said that the content of the Palestinian schoolbooks is anti-Israeli because it includes the names of Martyrs and calls to resist the occupation. At a time when the EU is continuing to delay providing the annual European grant, the PA faces difficult financial challenges due to the decline of the financial resources and the rise in the amount of salaries…

I would have liked to have Mr. Várhelyi accompany me to one of the lectures about the Palestinian cause that I teach at university, as he would find answers to much of the questions that he raised before the Palestinian leadership. In these lectures he would discern the scope of the students’ rage over all the peace agreements, because Israel is not honoring them and is not striving to achieve any peace…

Mr. Várhelyi would also easily discern that our Palestinian students wear necklaces with the map of historical Palestine (i.e., the PA map of “Palestine” that presents all of Israel together with the PA areas as “Palestine”) on their chests, as it represents the Palestinian people’s national and historical homeland. Mr. Várhelyi would also feel the amount of appreciation and sorrow that the students express over the souls of the Martyrs and the prisoners, because their land is occupied, and it is a duty to resist the occupier.

As a result of this Mr. Várhelyi would easily discover in the first lecture about the Palestinian cause that our schoolbooks include the minimum of the Palestinian rage and sentiment against the occupation, and without a doubt they are much smaller than what is in Palestinian society’s memory and heart. He also would discover that we as teachers of the Palestinian cause do not incite the students to resist the occupation. On the contrary, we and they are partners in the grief of the occupation, the sorrow of the prisoners, and the tears of the Martyrs’ mothers, and how could we not be? …

At a time when the states of Europe are demanding that we, the victim, relinquish the principles of liberation and independence, [Europe] does not relate to the anti-Palestinianism and the spreading of the discourse of hate and extremism in the Israeli schoolbooks, which are the criminal. It appears that they are demanding of us that our Palestinian schoolbooks will include only pictures of a Palestinian with a brimmed hat and elegant suit sitting in a nice restaurant in occupied Ramallah and politely demanding over social media that the occupation leave his land!”