Norwegian parliament tells government to cut funding to PA over textbooks

Ruling coalition in Norwegian parliament angered over references to violence, martyrdom and terror found in Palestinian Authority school textbooks.

Norwegian flags flutter at Karl Johans street in Oslo, Norway May 31, 2017. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Norwegian flags flutter at Karl Johans street in Oslo, Norway May 31, 2017.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A report issued by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) given to the Norwegian parliament has led to calls by the ruling coalition to withhold funding for the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The ruling coalition announced on Thursday, December 5, that it will instruct the  government to "reduce or withhold financial support to the Palestinian Authority if they do not provide satisfactory improvements in school materials within a reasonable time."
The ruling coalition added in a statement that the decision was due to “examples of content in the school books include references to violence, martyrdom  and terror. The coalition considers this to be devastating to the peace process and the development of democracy in the region, as well as being an expression of irresponsible pedagogy, and finds it unacceptable that Norwegian funds support a school system that promotes such destructive values.”
Norway is a major funder of the PA Ministry of Education, and the decision to without funds will cost approximately NOK 55 million in direct transfers to Palestinian education authorities. The IMPACT-se report and the subsequent reactions was published in a leading Norwegian news, Aftenposten, leading to a public debate on the country’s funding of PA Ministry of Education.
The controversy was also featured in the country’s top comedy show.
The Palestinian Deputy Minister of Education defended the education curriculum, claiming that they actually changed the textbook material already. The Deputy minister also criticized the Israeli curriculum for alleged racism and attacked the IMPACT-se report.  
IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff responded to the criticism by PA authorities in a statement on the situation: "Norwegian lawmakers reached the only possible conclusion when shown the extremism in the current Palestinian textbooks. Why would they want their taxpayers to be complicit in the radicalization of a generation of children or in encouraging them to acts of violence? "It was a mistake by the Palestinian Deputy Minister of Education and the others in their organized campaign to lie about the content of the textbooks in the press. These things can be easily checked, and no legislator likes to be purposefully misled."