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Jpost: PMW report on PA education presented in Israeli Parliament

Lahav Harkov  |
Jpost: PMW report on PA education presented in Israeli Parliament

Headline: Knesset Education Committee slams incitement in Palestinian schools
Sub-Headline: After MK shouting match, Zoabi removed from committee meeting

by Lahav Harkov

A Knesset Education, Culture and Sport Committee meeting on incitement in Palestinian schools and media grew heated Wednesday, with Arab MKs saying the discussion was Israeli propaganda.

Palestinian Media Watch director Itamar Marcus presented his organization’s report on Palestinian Authority education, which assessed the prominent educational messages that could impact peace with Israel.  The report documents that in formal and informal educational frameworks, killers of Israelis are portrayed as heroes and role models, and that children are taught that Israel will eventually be replaced by “Palestine.”

At least 25 Palestinian Authority schools are named after terrorists; three are named after Dalal Mughrabi, who led the most lethal terrorist attack in Israeli history in 1978, killing 37 civilians, 12 of them children. Marcus showed the MKs a film from PA television, in which a student expressed pride “to attend the Dalal Mughrabi School, which bears this pioneering name,” and another student said her “life’s ambition is to reach the level that the martyr fighter Dalal Mughrabi reached.”  Another clip from televised news in the PA showed a boy saying he learned in school to “fight the Jews, kill them and defeat them,” and another told children that Jews are “Satan with a tail.”

The report also contains chapters on incitement in Palestinian textbooks, educational materials glorifying Hitler, and the PA policy of blocking joint peace-building activities between Palestinian and Israeli children.

Marcus explained that the messages Palestinian children are receiving are nationalist – that Israel is not legitimate on any borders and its existence since 1948 is an occupation – and anti-Semitic – that Jews are evil by nature, descendants of monkeys and pigs, and fated to be killed by Muslims.

Education Committee chairman Ya’acov Margi (Shas) said “the incitement can spread like wildfire. We will do what we can as a committee... to moderate the discourse in Israeli society and in Palestinian society.”

MK Anat Berko (Likud), who initiated the discussion along with MK Merav Ben-Ari (Kulanu), expressed concern that Palestinian education materials encourage students to commit suicide attacks. “We see a generation of victims of the PA, that chose for them the path of terror, of non-critical thinking and of considering violence to be normal, built-in,” Berko, a former professor of criminology whose expertise is Palestinian suicide bombings, said.

Throughout the meeting, Joint List MKs interrupted with objections. […]

At the end of the meeting, Margi called on the Education Committee to increase oversight of east Jerusalem and all Arab schools to make sure incitement does not enter their educational materials, and called on the ministry to consider cooperating with its counterparts in other countries to increase supervision of Palestinian textbooks.