(January 10, 2019 / Israel Hayom) Britain’s Parliament on Tuesday approved in a first hearing a bill that could significantly cut aid funds to the Palestinian Authority.
The bill was drafted by Labour lawmakers Joan Ryan and Dame Louise Ellman, who head the Labour Friends of Israel parliamentary group.
If passed, the legislation would deduct tens of millions of pounds earmarked for the P.A. school system from the money the British Department for International Development, which distributes the kingdom’s aid funds internationally, gives to the Palestinains Authority. The bill argues that the P.A. school system fails to meet the standards set by UNESCO, the United Nation’s educational, scientific and cultural agency. The bill calls for a budget cut of tens of millions of pounds.
The bill also stipulates that the British government will be required to publish an annual report examining whether Palestinian textbooks meet international standards of peace and tolerance.
“The [P.A.’s textbooks] contain no suggestion or desire for peace with Israel,” Ellman said as she introduced the bill to her parliament. “All mention of peace agreements with Israel has been erased. In their first lesson, 5-year-old children are taught they should become shahids [‘martyrs’] and that jihad [‘holy war’] is the most important thing in life.”
Ellman and Ryan predicated their bill on reports published by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which has examined 173 official Palestinian textbooks in recent years. According to its findings, the textbooks do not educate the next generation of Palestinians towards peace, but hatred and extremism.
CEO of IMPACT-se Marcus Sheff said: “There’s nothing in our reports that the British government doesn’t already know. The bill was born because the British government was briefed on the subject, but its answers were unsatisfactory.”
It should be noted that a similar initiative is currently underway on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Speaking to Israel Hayom, Ellman said the goal of the bill was to “pressure the Palestinian Authority to stop teaching hatred. I’m in favor of education, not incitement.
“Because this is a private bill, it will complicated to complete the process, but I hope that just discussing the law proposal will apply the necessary pressure on the government to change its approach,” said Ellman.
Since introducing the bill, Ellman and Ryan have been threatened by radical elements within Labour.
Ellman said: “I speak out against anti-Semitism and criticize the positions of the party when I don’t agree with them and I will continue to do so. It’s important to say that the Labour Friends of Israel group gives me a great deal of strength.”
The legislation process is expected to conclude by the end of March.