Jerusalem, Jan. 24 – An expert who has been studying Arabic school textbooks for over a decade said Monday that although the Palestinians may be talking peace, they are teaching the opposite in their schools.
Dr. Arnon Groiss found that books used by Palestinian schools from grades one through twelve deny the legitimacy of Israel, demonize Israel and Jews, and instead of advocacy for peace there is praise for an armed struggle.
The books, in many cases financed by the United Nations or the European Union, advocate “the denial of legitimacy to Israel, Israel’s very existence and to the presence of the Jewish people in this country,” Groiss told reporters at a briefing organized by The Israel Project.
Groiss pointed out that instead of seeing books that talk about the two-state solution that has been pushed in peace talks for almost 20 years, Palestinian children learn from books that make no distinction between the West Bank, Gaza and “the rest of Palestine as they see it.”
Instead of talking about peace negotiations, the Palestinian books deal only with the “armed struggle.” Even more disturbing, he said was that “this is enhanced by the use of the traditional Islamic ideals of jihad (holy war) and martyrdom.”
Groiss said that books across the Arab world are even worse, since Palestinian textbooks are financed by the U.N. and European Union and have some oversight.
“The books of the Arab world are not financed by European countries so they are free to write whatever they want,” he said. “In Syria for example they call for the elimination of Jews.” School textbooks in Saudi Arabia are among the worst for incitement, with anti-Semitic propaganda given as fact. Even after 30 years of peace with Egypt, the name Israel does not appear on any map in Egyptian schoolbooks, he added.
In the world of the Internet and social media, the situation is severe with the vast majority of Arabic sources full of anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli rhetoric.
“The Internet is full of sites that call for war and terror. I wouldn’t say that there are no sites at all in the Arab world that call for peace or tolerance. There are some. But in the case of Israel their voice is not heard,” Groiss said.