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Hayom Interview with Itamar Marcus

Channel 1  |
Newswoman: “Where is the following quote taken from: ‘Palestine’s war ended with a catastrophe that is unprecedented in history. Gangs stole Palestine and expelled its people from their cities, their villages, their lands and their houses, and established the State of Israel.?' The answer is both simple and frustrating: the new Palestinian Authority schoolbooks for grade 2. Welcome Itamar Marcus, the director of Palestinian Media Watch.”

Itamar Marcus: “Hi. It’s grade 12.”

Newswoman : “Grade 12… you’re right, my mistake. You put together a very extensive report you presented today, which deals with the textbooks, schoolbooks, and the role of incitement that the children are studying in the Palestinian Authority. And your conclusions are dismal because the bottom line is that basically they live in a world where Israel, the state, part of which is the Palestinian Authority that is recognized and spoken with, does not exist.”

Marcus: “Yes, there are two serious problems here. On one hand, they are building for their children the image of a state that does not exist. On the maps, Israel does not exist, Palestine appears instead of Israel. But even in the texts that talk about the region, it says for example that the state of Palestine has access to the Mediterranean Sea and also to the Red Sea. And the word is “state” – Da’ula – so they are building, on one hand, a state, Palestine, that erases and exchanges Israel.”

Newswoman: “…the existence of Israel. Israel does not exist.”

Marcus: “Yes. On the other hand, when they talk about Israel, there is a denial of Israel’s right to exist, such as what you just read. Israel is defined as the one who stole Palestine… It deals with the Israeli occupation, we define it as the occupation since 67, they define all of Israel from 48 as the occupation, as the ‘Zionist entity,’ the ‘enemy entity.’ All of this is in the new schoolbooks that were released a number of months ago to grade 12 in the Palestinian Authority.”

Newswoman: “Do you see any difference in the schoolbooks, becoming more extreme, or is this an ongoing trend?”

Marcus: “It is becoming more extreme. It was a trend but it’s becoming more extreme. One of the most serious extreme points is the definition of the conflict with Israel, the struggle with Israel, now, as a religious conflict, an Islamic conflict. The conflict is referred to as ‘Ribat.’ Ribat is defined as a part of Jihad, and the people of Palestine are in the most important Ribat of all…”

Newswoman: “And this, you say, is a new element that did not exist in the past years.”

Marcus: “It did, but was very minor. Now, they simply emphasize it, and furthermore they say that the Ribat of the people of Palestine is one of the most important ones and will not end until the day of the resurrection of the dead. This means that there is an eternal existential struggle against the existence of Israel, not on a national basis, but a religious basis. Islam commands them to defend Islamic land. This is, in fact, Hamas ideology incorporated into the Palestinian schoolbooks…”

Newswoman: “This is the official line.”

Marcus: “It is the official line [in the schoolbooks] written by Fatah personnel.”

Newswoman: “Okay, so we will continue to deal with this political point in this matter. Ohad Chemo, our reporter in the [Palestinian] territories was in Bethlehem, and listened to Palestinian students. Let’s listen to this.”

[Ohad Chemo report]

Ohad Chemo: “Do you have a map of the Middle East?”
First Palestinian woman: “This is the map of the Middle East.”
Ohad Chemo: “But Israel doesn’t appear here.”
First Palestinian woman: “Israel isn’t here. Good, this is what I’m telling you.”
Ohad Chemo: “How do you want to be our neighbors if Israel isn’t here?”
First Palestinian woman: “You want us to be your neighbors? But this land is our land.”

Ohad Chemo: “Does Israel appear in the maps in the books?”
Second Palestinian woman: “Of course not, we’re Palestinians, we don’t recognize Israel… In your maps it appears but us Palestinians have a map called ‘the map of Palestine,’ not ‘the map of Israel’.”

[Back in the newsroom]

Newswoman: “The education, there is the sector element, that is a more secular education for those who identify, those who have secular schools, and the education in Hamas schools. And you say that the lines are becoming blurred in terms of what appears in the schoolbooks.”

Marcus: “There are no secular schools, even in all the schools in the Palestinian Authority, ever since the Palestinian Authority was established. They also have Islamic education.”

Newswoman: “But there still are differences between those schools and the Hamas schools, I assume.”

Marcus: “Yes, there is a difference in the extremism. But what I am explaining now is that even the schoolbooks that are in the UN schools and in the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas, they are now becoming more extreme in the religious subject, so that now they are referring to Israel as Islamic, as an Islamic territory, as an Islamic trust. So that once it is [defined as] an Islamic territory, the youth is not given the possibility to accept Israel, because then they’ll have to give up their Islamism.”

Newswoman: “So that the religious foundation that is strongly established, and politics is built inside it and there is no way out, because if there was a way out, in fact, you gave up your Islamic essence.”

Marcus: “As long as it is a territorial conflict, we can concede, they can concede. But if it is a conflict for Allah, you are not allowed to concede. By the way, the students were asked if they recognize Israel, a survey that was published about three weeks ago, a survey of a Palestinian institute. And they asked people the simple question ‘Do you recognize Israel?’ So the youngest group of people, 18 to 25 years old, who are a result of this education, the result was 86 to 93 percent that do not recognize Israel. An average of 90 percent does not recognize Israel within the youngest group that went through this education.”

Newswoman: “Itamar Marcus, thank you very much for these simple statistics.”

Marcus: “Thank you.”

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