On July 20, tens of thousands of Palestinian students in the West Bank and Gaza Strip celebrated the results of the high school matriculation exam, known as the tawjihi. Sadly, many of these students are unlikely to continue their studies in colleges and universities. Instead, they are expected to join one of the many Palestinian terror organizations that seek the annihilation of Israel. This happens because Palestinian schoolchildren are exposed from an early age to a curriculum that incites violence, glorifies jihad (holy war) and promotes “martyrdom.”
While the Iranian-backed Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups in the Gaza Strip use summer camps to train children how to become combatants and murder Jews, the Palestinian Authority, through its education system, effectively does the same thing. It poisons their hearts and minds through incendiary material in its school textbooks.
Even the European Parliament condemned the P.A. over the “hateful” content of its textbooks. The European Union, for the past two and a half years, withheld assistance from the P.A. while demanding political reforms and the purging of incitement to violence from Palestinian textbooks. A resolution passed this year by the European Parliament went so far as to directly link the content of the textbooks with Palestinian terrorism, particularly attacks by young people. The resolution also acknowledged that there is antisemitism in the textbooks and demanded that it be removed.
The European Union, the resolution said, “Deplores the problematic and hateful material in Palestinian school textbooks and study cards which has [sic] still not been removed; underlines that education and pupils’ access to peaceful and unbiased textbooks is essential, especially in the context of the rising implication of teenagers in terrorist attacks….””
Nevertheless, despite repeated talk by the European Union on the need to change Palestinian textbooks, it is apparently resuming unconditional financial aid to the P.A. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced last year during a visit to Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinians, that E.U. funds will be resumed “rapidly.”
This sudden burst of generosity raises questions about the European Union’s seriousness when it talks about the need to remove the “hateful material” from the textbooks.
The announcement by the European Commission president shows that the Europeans do not honestly care if the P.A. continues to incite violence and promote Jew-hatred in its schools. In fact, by resuming unconditional financial aid to the Palestinians, Europe is signaling that it approves of the hateful material in the textbooks and actually encourages the Palestinians to continue their jihad against Israel and Jews.
A review of the latest tawjihi conducted by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) found that Palestinian students were tested on chapters and passages from the P.A. textbooks that glorify the use of violence for the “liberation of Palestine,” a term referring to the entire territory between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea—and constituting all of Israel. The review also found that the tests forthrightly incorporate themes of hatred, incitement and violence.
Questions in the Arabic Language exam, for instance, include a poem that praises Jerusalem’s “knights” who “go to their death with a smile,” and the importance of preparing for violent jihad against Israel.
Students are also tested on passages in the P.A.’s Islamic Education textbook, that praise murder, violence and death. One question asks students to explain that jihad is “the apex of Islam”; another questions them about a passage that describes martyrdom as a great honor. The Islamic Education exam emphasizes the importance of jihad as “one of the gates to achieving martyrdom.”
Palestinian students are also tested on material that denies Jewish history in Jerusalem, and expresses non-recognition of Israel and its right to exist, including a passage that refers to the Jewish history in Jerusalem as “baseless claims,” “fairy tales,” and “myths.” Another exam features a map that omits Israel, instead labeling it as “Palestine.” In two instances, students are examined on chapters that compare Jews to the Crusaders, thereby implying that the Jews are foreign invaders who will eventually be defeated.
In the geography test, Palestinian students are examined on a textbook chapter that teaches about an attempt made by two Jews to create internal strife within the Islamic community in its early days—apparently to establish a negative perception of Jews.
A question in the history exam asks students to explain how “the United States took advantage of the 9/11 [terror attacks]” as a pretext to “intervene in the countries of the world in order to spread its rule and hegemony in the world.” The students are also instructed to “form a fictitious court to trial [sic] the USA for its crimes in Iraq.”
One of the main reasons there is no peace between Israel and the Palestinians is because Palestinian leaders have never prepared their people for peace and compromise with Israel. The word “peace” is absent from the school textbooks; instead, Palestinian children are taught, again and again, that they should prepare for jihad against Israel—despite the fact that Israel is the only free and democratic country in the Middle East.
The blood of the Palestinian children who will be killed in this jihad will be on the hands of not only the leaders of the P.A., Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad; it will also, to a large degree, be on the hands of those Europeans who continue to pour hundreds of millions of euros into the P.A. without demanding an end to its “pay-to-slay” jobs program that incentivizes and rewards murder; its non-stop incitement to violence and the runaway religious intolerance—all of which continue to flood through Palestinian universities and schools.
Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.