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Incitement in the Palestinian Education System

Operation SICK - Stop Inciting Children to Kill

Fact Sheet #4:
Incitement in the Palestinian Education System

“ ensure that their respective educational systems contribute to the peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples and to peace in the entire region”
- Oslo II, article XXII(1), (2).

“How are we going to liberate our stolen land? Write a composition making use of the following ideas: Arab unity, genuine faith in Allah, most modern weapons and ammunition, using oil and other precious natural resources as weapons in the battle for liberation.”
- Our Arabic Language, School text for Seventh Grade


U.S. President Bill Clinton, in a speech in late 1998, referred to “education for peace” as “the most important element” to make peace sustainable.[1] We all recognize that in order to reach the state of true peace that we are all looking for, it has to start with changing attitudes. And changing attitudes has to take place with our children.

Many of the activities of the Palestinian Authority are supported by international aid, much of which comes from the United States, and supervised by the World Bank. From 1995-1998, a total of $299 million for peaceful education was donated. Much of this money resulted in the PA’s publishing of false and hate-filled material towards Israel and Jews.

Quotes from School Textbooks Palestinian Authority school texts actively portray the Jew as the evil force in their world. Historical events are misrepresented to portray Israel and Jews the enemy of Islam and the Arabs. PA refused to let school books be checked, and they are currently in use. The following are quotations from school texts currently used by Palestinians to educate their children:

“There is no alternative to destroying Jerusalem.”
- Banner on title page of Volume I, “Our Country Palestine”

“Dedicated to those who are battling for the expulsion of the enemy from our land”
- Our Arabic Language, textbook for Fifth Grade

“there will be a Jihad and our country shall be freed. This is our story with the thieving conquerors. You must know, my boy, that Palestine is your grave responsibility.”
- Our Arabic Language, textbook for Fifth Grade

“The honorable soul has two objectives: Achieving death and honor”
- Abd al-Rahim Mahmud's "Song of the Martyr", Sixth Grade

“The Martyr rejoices in the paradise that Allah has prepared for him.”
- Islamic Education for Seventh Grade

“The Jews claim that this is one of the places belonging to them and call it "The Western Wall", but this is not so.”
- Reader and Literary Texts for Eighth Grade

“Racism: Mankind has suffered from this evil both in ancient as well as in modern times, for, indeed, Satan has, in the eyes of many people, made their evil actions appear beautiful. Such a people are the Jews”
- Islamic Education for Eighth Grade

“Martyred Jihad fighters are the most honored people, after the Prophets”
- Reading And Literary Texts for Tenth Grade

No Apologies for Curriculum

The endemic problem of the PA’s use of textbooks that incite to violence prompted the inclusion of a separate article in the Wye Agreement, signed by Arafat in 1998.[2] Section II, A(3) b, captioned "Preventing Incitement," that states:

“A US-Palestinian-Israeli committee will meet on a regular basis to monitor cases of possible incitement to violence or terror and to make recommendations and reports on how to prevent such incitement. The Israeli-Palestinian and U.S. sides will each appoint a media specialist, a law enforcement representative, an educational specialist, and a current or former elected official to the committee.”[3]

Although the trilateral committee did meet, the Palestinian appointees resisted efforts to edit their textbooks. An editorial in the English language Palestinian newspaper Jerusalem Times, entitled "No Apologies for the Curriculum," proclaimed "[t]he children should know their history well, whether or not it pleases the world," and continued defiantly, "[w]e should not care if our curriculum does not please Israel."[4] In the newspaper Al-Quds, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council denigrated the anti-incitement provisions of the Wye Agreement as “the most dangerous as it touches on the national ideology and national consciousness.”[5]

[1] See Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace, "CMIP Launched in Congress," CMIP Newsletter, no.1, Sept. 1998.

[2] Wye River Memorandum; see Justus Reid Weiner, "Wye River Memorandum: A Transition to Final Peace," Hastings International and Comparative Law Review, (forthcoming).

[3] Wye River Memorandum, Section II, A(3).

[4] Editorial, "No Apologies for Curriculum," Jerusalem Times.

[5] Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace, CMIP Newsletter.

What Can be Done?

Regardless of where we stand on the question of the Middle East conflict, we must put an end to this tragic loss of life. Nothing can justify turning a ten-year old into a hater and “warrior” and putting him in front of live gun-fire as a media ploy. We must condemn this outrage in the strongest possible language. Children are not weapons.

Please register your protest by signing a petition to the US Congress: