Monday, March 20, 2006

Schoolbooks have to change for any future peace

Future peace between Israel and the Palestinians has to rely heavily on education. The kids of tomorrow will be the decision makers of tomorrow and we have to look at what they are learning. A recent book called 'Three Wishes' interviewed Israeli and Palestinian children to ask them what they hoped for. While the Israeli children talk about peace and humanity some of the Palestinian children dream of becoming suicide bombers and venting hatred.
One Palestinian girl, Wafa, 12 twelve years old said “Killing an Israeli will make me feel glad. It will make me feel strong."
Another Palestinian girl, Maryam, 11, said “there are women martyrs who do the suicide bombings. They are very brave… I have only one wish. I would like to go to heaven. Maybe in heaven there is happiness after we die. Maybe then.”
Salam, the 12-year-old sister of suicide bomber Aayat Al-Akhras, who killed herself, a security guard and 17-year-old Rachel Levy at a Jerusalem market, said she would have made her sister a special breakfast on the day of her attack, had she known about it.
“I don’t think it would hurt if I blew myself up. I don’t think it hurt my sister. I think she was very brave, not scared at all. I think she was probably very happy,” Salam said.
These comments should come as no surprise to someone familiar with the Palestinian educational system. Whether on TV, radio or in the classroom the Palestinian child is constantly bombarded with talk of martyrdom, death and hatred. On this blog I have detailed an internet site by Hamas designed for children.
A report from the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center of Tel Aviv's Center for Special Studies (CSS) which examines new Palestinian fifth and tenth grade Palestinian school textbooks shows that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is educating Palestinian youth for conflict with an Israel it does not accept. The CSS examined 29 new textbooks, published by the PA Education Ministry for the 2004-2005 school year, which are still in use, examining their content on issues related to Jews, Judaism and Israel. The findings of the review of that year's books, compared to books from previous years, indicated a consistently hostile attitude. In particular, the CSS made the following findings:
Israel is rarely mentioned by name in the textbooks examined and then only in some negative context;
A fifth grade geography textbook included a 'Political Map of the Arab homeland' on which Israel did not appear;
The signed agreements between Israel and the PA under the Oslo peace process are not mentioned, let alone explained;
Israeli cities and towns, wherever they may be, are described as "settlements";
World War Two is covered but no mention is made of the Holocaust;
The history of biblical times is falsified, the Jewish historical experience is not discussed and Israel's ancient inhabitants are described as Arab peoples; and
The anti-Semitic forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, is cited, reiterating anti-Semitic myths on the Jews' intention to take over the entire world.

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