April 2, 2008
Palestinian Hate-Education ContinuesBy Peggy Shapiro
Acknowledging that without a population educated to accept peace, no other negotiations or concessions were meaningful, the U.S. President set forth, "A Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict." (April 30, 2003) Before discussions on the status of land, borders, Jerusalem, or "settlements," the Road Map called for Palestinian leadership to issue an "unequivocal statement reiterating Israel's right to exist in peace and security and calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to end armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere. All official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel."
In a few weeks, it will be five years since the Palestinian Authority was to prepare its citizens for a two-state solution and end incitement in its educational system. Yet from pre-school through highschool, Palestinian children are indoctrinated to deny Israel's legitimacy, demonize Israelis and Jews, and glorify violent struggle as a religious goal. The Palestinian government-produced textbooks and government-controlled media work in tandem to assure that Palestinian children will be no more disposed to living peacefully with Israel tomorrow than their parents are today.
It's never too early to begin the hate education. Preschool television programming could be called Terrorism for Tots. Last year American viewers had a glimpse of the weekly program starring an outrageous Palestinian version of Mickey Mouse, Farfar, who in a Mickey-like voice told children to pray until there is "world leadership under Islamic leadership" and in the meantime to oppose the "oppressive invading Zionist occupation."
Farfur taught the children not only the glory of violence but the mindset of victim hood and blame. In one episode (May 11, 2007) Farfur cheated on an exam and his excuse was, "Because the Jews destroyed my home and I left my books and notes under the rubble." In case the point was too subtle, Farfur advised other children, "I'm calling on all children to read more and more to prepare for exams because the Jews don't want us to learn."
The program, which broadcast over most of the Arab world, was withdrawn recently after some international uproar. Of course, in the final episode Farfur was beaten to death in front of his impressionable young fans by an Israeli official. Farfur may be dead, but his legacy continues in other characters such as Assoud, the terrorist version of Bugs Bunny. Diane Sawyer showed one clip of Assoud saying, "I will finish off the Jews and eat them." (ABC Feb. 14, 2008)
With the emotional foundation of fear and hate established by the time children are five, these youngsters are ready to begin school and obtain "facts' to support their prejudices. On the way to school, children learn who the heroes are. In most of the world, streets, public buildings and schools are named after presidents, great musicians, scientists, and others who are to serve as role model for children. Palestinian towns such as Yaabid) named their most important street and schools after former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, January 4, 2007] One of the numerous examples of schools named after terrorists is the Dalal Mughrabi School, which honors Dalal Mughrabi, who killed American photographer Gail Rubin and 36 Israelis. [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, December 14, 2004] Before the children open a book, they already know who is to be emulated.
Then the serious indoctrination begins in the textbooks. When the Palestinian Authority assumed control of education in 1994, it reverted to pre-1967 textbooks, which were little more than manuals for terror. With an infusion of international funds, the PA began a new curriculum process issuing books for two grades each year. Books for grades 1-10 were published under Yassir Arafat's rule. Texts for grades 11 and 12 were prepared by the more "moderate" leadership of Mahmoud Abbas. The Center for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education http://www.edume.org/ conducted an analysis of Palestinian textbooks published before and during Abbas' presidency.
It comes as no surprise that in books produced under Arafat, Israel is not present in maps of the modern Middle East or that Jewish claims to a biblical connection are denied. In place of Israel, maps, both modern and ancient, show a sovereign state of Palestine( Reading and Texts, Grade 9, Part 2 (2004), pp. 34-35)Children in the 2nd grade learn that "Palestine" covers the whole territory of pre-1967 Israel. (Islamic Education, Grade 2, Part 1 (2001), p. 98) The Jewish presence is also eliminated from the past. Despite the fact that Islam did not start until thousands of years after the biblical account of Abraham, the Cave of the Patriarchs is called the Mosque of Abraham (National Education, Grade 7 (2001), p. 55) and Rachel's Tomb is referred to as "Mosque of Bilal bin Rabbah." National Education, Grade 7 (2001) p. 54
Jews, whose legitimacy in Israel has been denied in the texts are further demonized as killers with genocidal intentions. Literary selections such as the following fill the texts at all levels. Your enemies killed your children, split open your women's bellies, held your revered elderly men by the beard, and led them to the death pits. (National Education, Grade 7 (2001), p. 20) Following the storyline of Farfur, Palestinians and Arabs are the victims and bear no responsibility for the 1948 Nakba (catastrophe) even though it was five Arab nations that attacked Israel. (Islamic Education, Grade 9, Part 1 (2003), p. 62) The textbooks present violence and martyrdom as the desired response to the "injustices" imposed by Israel. Twelve-year-olds learn that "The martyr's rank is above all ranks." (Our Beautiful Language, Grade 7, Part 1 (2001), p. 97) and as early as first grade, children recite:
Hopes that a change in leadership would produce a change in education were dashed in the most recent analysis of forty-two books which were issued for grades 11 and 12. After a slight change in tone in the grade 11 texts (Jews are mentioned in a few biblical accounts and one map includes Tel Aviv and other modern Jewish cities with a font so small that it requires a magnifying glass), the new grade 12 texts resume the vitriol against Israel.
Israelis are disparaged as "Zionist gangs," "colonial imperialists," and "racists." Palestinian youth are exhorted to fight Israel, not only for political gains but for religious Jihad. The battle for Israel is called "Ribat for Allah," (the place to fight Islam's enemies) and "Ribat for Palestine" is the ultimate of religious goals. With an increased religious aspect of the struggle, martyrs are violent liberation are praised. In Arabic language classes, students read:
School outings and after school programs solidify the indoctrination to hate. This month Palestinian children were treated to an exhibition of Israel burning children in a crematorium. (Palestinian Media Watch, March 20, 2008) The theme of Israel prepetrating a Holocaust is a consistent with what they learn in school and on television.
Almost more disturbing than what is being taught in an educational system that undermines any efforts for peace is who is paying for a large part of it: the U.S.A. Congress has issued repeated concerns that U.S. funds not be used to teach war (S.Hrg. 108-290, Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, United States Senate,October 30, 2003, Palestinian Education-Teaching Peace or War?), and a priority for some Members of Congress is that U.S. aid to the Palestinians, totaling $1.4 billion since 1993, does not support an inciting, anti-Israeli curriculum. (CRS Report RS21594, United States Aid to the Palestinians, by Clyde Mark; and CRS Report RL32260)
On March 6, 2008 the House Appropriations State-Foreign Operations Subcommittee hearing challenged Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte's request for additional funding for the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' government and placed a hold on $150 million in economic support for the Palestinians. Members of the committee were "skeptical about the political will of a Palestinian leadership that all too often lapses into inflammatory rhetoric that belies their stated commitment to peace." (Rep. Nita Lowey, chair of the House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, in a March 12 letter to the State Department)
After a phone call with Abbas, the State Department issued assurances and Condoleeza Rice said she was, "confident that President Abbas is someone who is committed to the negotiated solution of this issue." On March 12, a day before Rice's scheduled appearance before the appropriations subcommittee, $100 million of the aid was released.
At this moment, in classrooms in Gaza and the West Bank, in schools under Hamas control or "moderate" Fatah control, children are being poisoned with hate and distrust and readied to be warriors for the "final and inevitable result ...the victory of the Muslims over the Jews." [Our Arabic Language for Fifth Grade p. 67] With humanitarian intentions and a blind eye to what is actually written in the textbooks and shown in the media, the U.S. funds hate education.
The U.S. provides funding to Palestinian education without any of the oversight it demands of American schools. I have been an educator for 31 years and know the stringent standards for accreditation and funding of schools in all fifty states. Perhaps a team of educators could set minimum requirements of pedagogy as well as a low level of tolerance for incitement towards violence, and only after the standards are met would funds commence. The money would follow performance, not promise.
As it stands now Americans need to learn what Ariel Sharon understood: the most lethal weapon of mass destruction is an education which implants the seeds of war in the next generation and guarantees a tragic future for all.