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EU commissioner commits to PA funding freeze over textbook incitement

“Incitement to hatred and violence and glorification of terror violate E.U. core values,” said Olivér Várhelyi,

Palestinian children participate in a rally marking the 70th anniversary of the “Nakba,” Arabic for “catastrophe,” the term used to mark the events leading to Israel's founding in 1948, at a school in Shechem on May 13, 2018. Credit: Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.
Palestinian children participate in a rally marking the 70th anniversary of the “Nakba,” Arabic for “catastrophe,” the term used to mark the events leading to Israel's founding in 1948, at a school in Shechem on May 13, 2018. Credit: Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.

The European Union official who oversees aid to the Palestinian Authority has voiced support for conditioning the release of funds on the removal of incitement and antisemitism from P.A. textbooks.

The remarks follow two European Parliament resolutions last week demanding the “deletion of all antisemitic references, and removal of examples that incite hatred and violence” in Palestinian textbooks, and calls for a funding freeze.

“Incitement to hatred and violence and glorification of terror violate E.U. core values,” tweeted Olivér Várhelyi, the European commissioner for neighborhood and enlargement. “It is a poison for our society, in particular in classrooms and textbooks. There can be no justification to turn a blind eye, neither in Europe nor beyond.”

In the tweet, the E.U. official said that the “commission duly notes this request from the budgetary authority.” 

In May, Várhelyi said that the European Union “will make sure it’s not funding Palestinian textbooks that incite against Israel.” He had previously announced that the European Union would conduct a second study of the P.A.’s textbooks.  

Unlike previous resolutions, which mentioned incitement to violence without directly calling for the removal of antisemitism, the wording of the resolutions last week explicitly links E.U.-funded textbooks to “rising involvement of teenagers in terrorist attacks.”

The European Parliament resolutions stated that the European Union should freeze its funding to the P.A. until its curriculum is aligned with UNESCO standards.

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