Palestinian Minister backs out of EU Parliament hearing on textbook incitement

After initially agreeing to participate, Palestinian Authority (PA) Education Minister Dr. Marwan Awartani backed out of a debate on textbook incitement.

Palestinian students display their new Palestinian educational syllabus at the beginning of his new school year in Gaza Strip September 7, 2000 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian students display their new Palestinian educational syllabus at the beginning of his new school year in Gaza Strip September 7, 2000
(photo credit: REUTERS)

Palestinian Education Minister, Dr. Marwan Awartani, was set to attend the European Union Parliament's April 20 hearing on textbook incitement but backed out at the last moment. 

Despite initially calling for the hearing and agreeing to the EU-supervised debate with IMPACT-se, the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, Dr. Awartani refused to take part in it. In his absence, IMPACT-se testified alone before the parliament. 

In an explanation of the Parliament's overall goal in funding Palestinian educational materials, MEP Lukas Mandl, Vice-Chair of the Security and Defence Subcommittee said, “hatred breeds hatred, violence, and worse, we should have learned that by now. It’s shocking to see that once again these educational materials propagate hatred. In no case should we be sending EU taxpayers money, that’s absolutely mad.”

The hearing covered the topic of incendiary language and content in Palestinian educational materials. EU Parliament members were shocked at the content of the PA Education Ministry's new study cards, which were produced in response to the Parliament's declaration that the PA's existing textbooks were unacceptable.  

Budgetary Control committee chair, MEP Monika Hohlmeier, explained that the Parliament is looking to fund "nonviolent education for children."

MARCUS SHEFF, CEO of IMPACT-SE, (back to camera) briefs European MEPs in Brussels on Palestinian textbooks.  (credit: Courtesy)MARCUS SHEFF, CEO of IMPACT-SE, (back to camera) briefs European MEPs in Brussels on Palestinian textbooks. (credit: Courtesy)

This is why the committee initially suspended funds from the PA upon the discovery of their textbooks. The Parliament had called the textbooks “outrageous,” “unacceptable,” and “an absolute scandal,” and the cards showed absolutely no improvement in terms of incendiary content. 

The EU Commission and Parliament criticized the PA for refusing to attend the debate and roundly denounced the new study cards. A resolution condemning PA textbooks and abuse of EU funding is set to be voted on in early May.