British government says changes will be made to Palestinian textbooks
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British government says changes will be made to Palestinian textbooks

Middle East Minister Andrew Murrison says the UK is 'working with the Palestinian Authorities on a thorough review of its textbooks to make sure they do not incite violence'

A Palestinian child stands on the illustrations of the British Union flag, the Israeli flag, and an American flag during a protest against the American peace plan in the Middle East, in Gaza City. (Photo by Mahmoud Issa / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
A Palestinian child stands on the illustrations of the British Union flag, the Israeli flag, and an American flag during a protest against the American peace plan in the Middle East, in Gaza City. (Photo by Mahmoud Issa / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

The British Government has said “changes will be made” to Palestinian textbooks from September, following a recent meeting in London.

News came from Middle East Minister Dr Andrew Murrison in response to a question on Palestinian education in the House of Commons late week.

Describing “the active role that we have taken to ensure that no inappropriate material is used,” he said: “I spoke recently to the Palestinian education minister. I know that this issue is at the top of his agenda, and in advance of the academic year in September, changes will be made.”

It follows a meeting at the Department for International Development (DFID) on 22 January between Murrison and Palestinian Education Minister Marwan Awartani, who was in the British capital for the Education World Forum.

After a UK call for action, the European Union agreed to lead an independent review of the content in Palestinian textbooks. This is currently ongoing, as is British government funding for Palestinian education.

Andrew Murrison

“In the last year, UK aid has supported 26,000 children to go to school in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and is also helping to educate 500,000 Palestinian refugees across the Middle East,” a DFID spokesperson said.

“UK aid does not pay for textbooks in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We are working with the Palestinian Authorities on a thorough review of its textbooks to make sure they do not incite violence.”

In the last year, the UK gave £20 million to fund Palestinian teachers’ salaries and £65.5 million to the UN Relief and Works Agency, which supports the education of 500,000 Palestinian refugees across the Middle East.

The agency was left in dire financial straits in 2018 after Donald Trump suddenly slashed US funding from $360 million to $60 million. Last year he cut the final $60 million.

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