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EU Parliament condemns incitement in PA textbooks, urges funding freeze

"The removal of antisemitic content in Palestinian textbooks is about morality,” said MEP Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou.

The Hemicycle of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, during a plenary session, Feb. 5, 2014. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
The Hemicycle of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, during a plenary session, Feb. 5, 2014. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The European Parliament passed a resolution on Wednesday condemning the Palestinian Authority for incitement to violence, hatred and antisemitism in its school textbooks for the fourth consecutive year.

It called on the E.U. to freeze funding to the P.A. until its curriculum aligns with UNESCO standards.

The wording is noticeably more critical of the P.A. than resolutions previously passed by the European Parliament, said the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), an Israeli nonprofit that monitors school textbooks worldwide.

It is the first time an E.U. resolution explicitly links the drafting of P.A. textbooks, which it funds, to ongoing Palestinian terrorism, especially attacks perpetrated by young people.

It also acknowledges antisemitism in the texts and explicitly demands its removal. Previous resolutions mentioned incitement to violence without calling for the removal of antisemitism.

The resolution was passed 421 to 151 with 5 abstentions and garnered support from major center-left and center-right parties.

“The Palestinian Authority lobbied hard in Brussels against this resolution but found itself up against the hard reality of its hateful school curriculum and the anger and frustration of European Parliament members with a Palestinian national strategy of inciting schoolchildren to hate and violence on their dime, year after year,” IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff said.

The Parliament voted down five attempts to delete the resolution following a campaign by the Palestinian delegation to Brussels and pro-Palestinian NGOs.

The resolution follows an announcement last week by E.U. Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi, whose department oversees all aid to the P.A., that the E.U. “will make sure it’s not funding Palestinian textbooks that incite against Israel.”

Following a meeting with Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, Várhelyi promised that the E.U. would fund an additional study into incitement and antisemitism in P.A. textbooks.

In December 2022, the European Commission said changes to the P.A. curriculum were “essential” and promised to “ensure that further curriculum reform addresses problematic issues in the shortest possible time frame.”

Starting in May 2021, the E.U. withheld all funding to the P.A. for over 13 months because some of the money was used to draft inciting textbooks.

Member of the European Parliament Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou from the center-right European People’s Party Group, the largest European Parliament party, said that “partial conditionality to ensure the removal of antisemitic content in Palestinian textbooks is not just about effectiveness, it is about morality.”

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