by Aryeh Savir
United Kingdom MP Dame Louise Ellman on Wednesday presented the International Development Assistance (Values Promoted in Palestinian National Authority Schools) Bill in parliament designed to stop the Palestinian Authority (PA) education system from using British taxpayers’ money to fund a school curriculum which incites the murder of Israelis.
Supported by a cross-party group of MPs, Ellman’s bill mandates that UK assistance to the PA education system must comply with international and UNESCO standards of promoting peace and tolerance. It will also require an annual review to ensure compliance.
The PA in recent years has introduced a new curriculum for both primary and secondary school children which teaches the virtues of Jihad the Shahada, martyrdom. Martyrdom and Jihad are, in the words of one textbook for children aged 11, “the most important meanings of life.”
“Drinking the cup of bitterness with glory,” it suggests, “is much sweeter than a pleasant long life accompanied by humiliation.” Teenagers are taught that those who sacrifice themselves will be rewarded with “72 virgin brides in paradise”.
So-called martyrs, such as terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who led the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre in which 38 Israelis, including 13 children, were murdered and dozens were wounded, are held up as role models.
PA ministers have admitted that British aid is directly helping to support the delivery of this new curriculum through the payment of the salaries of PA Ministry of Education officials and teachers involved in implementing it.
Jennifer Gerber, Director of Labour Friends of Israel, which is behind the promotion of the bill, charged that “time and time again, the government has refused to act in response to the incitement in the PA curriculum that they continue to support. Despite being warned over 18 months ago about the content of these lessons in hatred, UK taxpayers continue to fund a curriculum that does nothing to promote peace.”
She said that “its high time ministers stopped dragging their feet and took a stand. That’s why Dame Louise’s bill will mandate that all future assistance to the PA must promote UNESCO-derived standards for peace and tolerance in school education and require an annual review to ensure compliance.”
Marcus Sheff, CEO of Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), a watchdog which combats radicalization and exposes anti-Israel content in school textbooks, told TPS that the bill “is in the correct direction,” and that legislation is the only way to stop foreign funding of PA incitement.
“It is important and necessary to ensure this bill becomes law,” he said.
IMPACT-se has been working with the British government for the past two years in an effort to promote such legislation, presenting it with its reports and research on the issue, he said.
Its research shows that the word “peace” does not appear in any text used in PA schools, and that the PA had adopted “a curriculum of war and struggle aimed at preparing young Palestinians to fight continuously for the elimination of Israel,” and that “there is clear evidence of a strategy of radicalization of young Palestinians” devised and implemented by the PA ministry.
While Sheff welcomed the bill, he said it was unfortunate that the British government did not do what it should have, which is to scrutinize the PA’s textbooks and publicly demand that the PA change its course and cease its incitement against Israel.
He further said that IMPACT-se is working with US Congress members to introduce similar legislation in the US.
The European Union has already passed a law that prohibits the use of its funds to fund the promotion of hate in the Palestinian curriculum.
The PA educational system routinely negatively influences the minds of the impressionable Palestinian children and educates them to hate Israel and Israelis through terror-promoting messages. They use cultural mediums such as school plays, sports events and summer camps for this objective.
In line with this policy, the PA has named at least 28 schools after terrorists and at least three schools after Nazi collaborators. Significantly, the PA Ministry of Education is directly and solely responsible for naming schools.