PA announces change in school curricula after European Parliament pressure

The Palestinian Cabinet approved plans to make changes to the educational curriculum in Palestinian schools, following pressure from the European Parliament and national governments in Europe.

Minister of Education, Prof. Marwan Awartani, gave a detailed report to a meeting of the Cabinet on new curricula and plans for their development, which emphasized the need for the “preservation and protection of the curricula as based in a sovereign Palestinian matter … as they relate to the Palestinian narrative and identity, and the strategic directions of the state, including the Declaration of Independence.”

According to an Arabic-language briefing on the meeting on the Council’s website, the Council stressed that any development of the curriculum would be an independent Palestinian national decision, taken only to provide the best education for Palestinian students within an overall strategy to improve the education system. They further stressed the necessity of adopting the highest professional standards in line with international standards of quality education.

The Council also welcomed Awartani’s proposal to establish a national curriculum center, and instructed him to present an integrated vision in the near future on the how to set a trend for further upgrades of the curricula.

The announcement follows the passage through the European Parliament of three separate resolutions condemning the failure within the Palestinian education system to remove hate speech and incitement to violence within school textbooks. The legislation requires that salaries of teachers funded by the European Institutions are only used to reward those who teach materials consistent with UNESCO standards of peace, tolerance, coexistence and non-violence.

Consequently, they could impact future aid payments by the Union to the Palestinian Authority, given the prevalence of violent materials within Palestinian teaching materials.

The resolutions were driven by IMPACT-se, a research and advocacy organization which monitors and analyses education to prevent the radicalization of young people.

The PA’s endorsement of the curricula changes come before the publication of an interim report on Palestinian textbooks, funded by the EU and expected in June. The report, announced by then EU High Commissioner Federica Mogherini in April last year, has been undertaken “with a view to identifying possible incitement to hatred and violence and any possible lack of compliance with UNESCO standards of peace and tolerance in education”.

The endorsement follows moves by a number of national governments to crack down on hate education in Palestinian schools last year.

In December 2019, the Norwegian Parliament described PA teaching materials as “devastating to the peace process,” and instructed its government to withhold funding to the PA if the incitement to violence is not removed from textbooks. In the same month, the US House Foreign Affairs Committee passed the bipartisan Peace and Tolerance in Palestinian Education Act by unanimous consent. That legislation is currently progressing through congress.

And in August 2019, the UN issued an unprecedented report calling on the PA to remove all antisemitic materials, incitement to violence and hate speech from educational materials

related

Subscribe to EJC newsletter

Get EJC's bi-weekly newsletter, including the latest statements and news from the European Jewish communities, direct to your inbox.

European Jewish Congress will use the information you provide on this form to contact you. We will treat your information with respect and will not share it with others. By clicking Subscribe, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

Statements

Kantor Center Antisemitism Worldwide Report 2019 – The Coronavirus Crisis is Reviving ‘Blood Libels’ Against Jews

EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor said that already in the first few months since the global breakout of the coronavirus, there has been a rise in antisemitic manifestations relating to the spread of the disease and the economic recession triggered by the pandemic at the release of the Antisemitism Worldwide Report 2019. The total number of major violent incidents monitored in 2019 was 456, an 18% rise from 2018.

Message from Moshe Kantor

EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor announced a series of important measures to provide support and assistance to Jewish communities and other people in need to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus crisis.

EJC expresses outrage at mass display of public antisemitism at Aalst Carnival

EJC expresses outrage at the appalling mass display of open antisemitism during carnival celebrations in the Belgian city of Aalst and stands in solidarity with its affiliate, the Coordinating Committee of Belgian Jewish Organisations (CCOJB).

Dr. Moshe Kantor bestows Golden Vision award on Pope Francis

In a private meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican, EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor bestowed the 2020 Golden Vision award on Pope Francis as a token of appreciation for his message of brotherhood between Jews and Christians and his unrelenting commitment to younger generations and promoting solutions to the moral and ethical challenges of our time.