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"You can't have agreements while this kind of hatred is inculcated in the children," Knesset Education Committee Chairman Michael Melchior (Labor-Meimad) said on Tuesday after seeing new 12th-grade textbooks published by the Palestinian Authority late last year.
"I intend to demand from Prime Minister [Ehud Olmert] that he present the findings [of a new report on the textbooks] to Abu Mazen [PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas] at their next meeting," Melchior said.
Melchior's statements at the Knesset followed a Palestinian Media Watch presentation showing Palestinian 12th grade textbooks teaching children in the PA that pursuing Israel's destruction was a religious duty.
PMW director Itamar Marcus told the Education Committee that the new schoolbooks were - for the first time - uniquely focused on portraying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a religious war.
"According to these books," Marcus told the MKs, "the war over this land is a war for Muslim land, and will end only with the resurrection of the dead." The books teach that "recognition of Israel is forbidden by religion," he said.
Committee members promised to pressure international donors, particularly Belgium, whose contributions receive specific mention in the textbooks, to suspend their aid as long as such incitement continues in PA textbooks.
According to the report, the schoolbooks, the products of the official education arm of the PA, written by Fatah-appointed officials at the Center for Developing the Palestinian Curricula and published by the PA Ministry of Higher Education, are also used by schools in east Jerusalem that are under the jurisdiction of - and receive funding from - Israel's Education Ministry.
Shlomo Alon, deputy head of the Pedagogic Secretariat in the Education Ministry, told the lawmakers the ministry would investigate whether the books were distributed in east Jerusalem schools and would cut funding for schools found using them.
According to Melchior, the report's findings indicate a trend from "a conflict over land, which can be resolved by partition, to an existential religious conflict that cannot be resolved."
MK Zeev Elkin (Kadima) called on the government to put in place "sanctions against the PA for such violations [of the Oslo Accords]," which he called "more dangerous than security violations in the long run."
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