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Palestinian attacker left ‘martyrdom’ message in school notebook

“God, or victory, or martyrdom. Forgive me, mother, you're going to be proud of me,” wrote the 13-year-old terrorist.

Security personnel guard the scene outside the Old City of Jerusalem where a Palestinian gunman wounded an Israeli father and son, Jan. 28, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90.
Security personnel guard the scene outside the Old City of Jerusalem where a Palestinian gunman wounded an Israeli father and son, Jan. 28, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90.

Thirteen-year-old Muhammad Aliwat, who ambushed and seriously wounded a father and son at the entrance to the City of David in Jerusalem on Saturday, left a note in his school notebook expressing his longing to die as a martyr.

“God, or victory, or martyrdom. Forgive me, mother, you’re going to be proud of me,” he wrote.

Aliwat was an 8th-grade student at the Al-Furqan Islamic School for Boys in Shuafat, a Jerusalem neighborhood, where he was studying the Palestinian curriculum.

“The Palestinian Authority textbooks used in recent months by Aliwat incite violence, promote the killing of Jewish Israelis, spread overt antisemitic tropes, and glorify jihad and martyrdom,” the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), said in a press release.

IMPACT-se reviewed the attacker’s school textbooks studied this year and last. It found “gruesome” content that incites violence and jihad, inculcates antisemitism, and “encourages students to sacrifice themselves while killing Jews.”

Aliwat studied reading comprehension through a story that promotes suicide bombings and in which Palestinians “cut the necks of enemy soldiers” and “wore explosive belts.” An illustration with the story depicts Israeli soldiers shot dead by a Palestinian gunman.

“Jews are depicted as conspiratorial, powerful, evil and impure, posing a threat to the sanctity of Islam. A teacher guide for Grade 7 teaches that Jews crushed children’s heads, set them on fire and threw them into wells,” IMPACT-se said.

Most science courses Aliwat studied teach hate. A biology lesson asked students about the effects of a violent clash with the IDF on bodily organs.

The materials studied by Aliwat were “drafted and taught by teachers whose salaries are supported by the European Union, Germany and other nations,” IMPACT-se noted.

The same curriculum is taught by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA), whose biggest financial supporter is the United States. “UNRWA states that it uses the Palestinian curriculum as a ‘best practice’ to teach refugee populations with local curricula, and that it doesn’t change or alter the content in the textbooks,” said IMPACT-se.

IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff said: “Countries that condemned this weekend’s terror attacks are some of the biggest donors to the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA. The majority of that funding goes to the education system. When exactly will the penny drop for them that there is a direct, clear and unavoidable line between the teaching of violence and acting it out to tragic effect in the real world?”

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