Hamas and Fatah have vowed to foil any attempt to teach the Holocaust in UNRWA-run schools in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The two parties said Tuesday that teaching about the Holocaust was a “provocative act.”

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The Hamas government said that the UN group’s intention to include the Holocaust in school text books was a “challenge to the feelings of the Palestinians.” It accused UNRWA of carrying out a political agenda that did not serve the interests of the Palestinians and “violates their culture and unchangeable values.”

Hamas said it was also opposed to the move because it would pave the way for normalization with Israel.

“This is an attempt to impose on us the culture of normalization with the occupation,” said a statement issued by the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Culture in the Gaza Strip. “They want us to accept the tales and lies to win sympathy.”

The ministry described the Holocaust as a lie, saying it had been exaggerated to garner sympathy for the “usurping entity” at the expense of the rights and interests of the Palestinians.

The Hamas ministry warned UNRWA against teaching the Holocaust in its schools as part of lessons on human rights, declaring, “This is a flagrant intervention in the internal affairs of the Palestinians and a violation of regulations that have existed since the establishment of UNRWA.”

Hamas also urged Palestinians to confront the “suspicious scheme,” which it condemned as a “cultural crime.” It said schools should instead dedicate classes to talking about the “occupation’s terror and racism.”

Zakariya al-Agha, a senior Fatah official in the Gaza Strip and head of the PLO “refugee department,” said he was also opposed to teaching the Holocaust in Palestinian schools.

Salah al-Wadiyeh, a Fatah representative in the West Bank, said that the Holocaust was a “big lie.” The Palestinians, he said, “know more than any other people the history of their enemies and their false claims and lies.”

He, too, lashed out at UNRWA for reportedly agreeing to educate Palestinian school children about the Holocaust.

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