The European Parliament on Wednesday condemned incitement and antisemitism in textbooks in Palestinian schools, some of which receive EU Funding.
The resolution, which passed for the fourth year in a row, calls on the EU to freeze funding for the Palestinian Authority until the textbooks are aligned with UNESCO standards of peace and tolerance. The European Commission has largely ignored previous resolutions on the matter, the resolution said.
The resolution “deplores the problematic and hateful material in Palestinian school textbooks and study cards which still has not been removed.”
The legislators linked the increase in terrorism in recent months to Palestinian education and textbooks.
“Education and pupils’ access to peaceful and unbiased textbooks is essential, especially in the context of the rising implication of teenagers in terrorist attacks,” the resolution said.
This year’s resolution emphasized the need to remove antisemitic references and examples more than past versions.
Removing hateful content
Hateful content “has still not been removed,” the resolution said, despite claims to the contrary by the PA, and therefore, the European Parliament “requests the Commission to closely scrutinize that the PA modifies the full curriculum expeditiously.”
The European Parliament voted down five attempts to remove the resolution, overcoming a lobbying campaign by the PA delegation to Brussels and pro-Palestinian NGOs.
Last week in Brussels, European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi promised Foreign Minister Eli Cohen that the EU would make sure it is not funding Palestinian textbooks that incite against Israel and that the EU would fund a further study into incitement and antisemitism in the books.
The EU withheld its funding to the PA for 13 months, starting in May 2021, over incitement to violence in textbooks in its EU-aided education system.
“Partial conditionality to ensure the removal of antisemitic content in Palestinian textbooks is not just about effectiveness, it is about morality,” MEP Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou said.
According to Marcus Sheff, CEO of IMPACT-se, which analyzes textbooks in the Middle East, “The Palestinian Authority lobbied hard in Brussels against this resolution, but found itself up against the hard reality of its hateful school curriculum and the anger and frustration of European Parliament members with a Palestinian national strategy of inciting schoolchildren to hate and violence on their dime, year after year.”
Incitement in education “has murderous consequences,” he said.
Among the examples of incitement in Palestinian textbooks listed in an EU study from 2019, released to the public in 2021, is the promotion of “resistance,” such as demonstrating Newton’s second law with Palestinians using slingshots to strike at Israeli soldiers.
Dalal al-Mughrabi, who led the terrorist cell that hijacked an Israeli bus in 1978 and murdered 38 Israelis, is repeatedly referred to with the context of female empowerment, and there are “no further portraits of significant female figures in Palestinian history,” implying that “the path of violence [is] the only option for women to demonstrate an outstanding commitment to their people and country,” the report said.