Concern over report on ‘institutional radicalisation’ in Palestinian schools

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Concern over report on ‘institutional radicalisation’ in Palestinian schools

MPs call on the government to publish delayed study about the level of incitement in the education system, which uses UK-funded United Nations resources

Bumble bee on Palestinian TV show urges the killing of Jews
Bumble bee on Palestinian TV show urges the killing of Jews

MPs have called on the Government to publish a delayed European report on incitement in the Palestinian curriculum, amid fears that it will not be made public.

It follows a House of Commons debate this week in which mostly Conservative MPs lined up to accuse the Palestinian education system of “incitement” and “institutionalised radicalisation” amid calls for funding cuts.

The European Parliament’s Committee on Budgets has already called for the suspension of funding to the Palestinian Authority until an investigation conducted by the Georg Eckert Institute on behalf of the European Union is complete.

The UK does not fund textbooks in the West Bank and Gaza but does fund the United Nations agency UNRWA which supports Palestinian education.

Alyn Smith, an MP for the Scottish National Party, said: “I join colleagues in calling for it to be made public, because I think the best solution to this issue is ventilation and transparency about what the issues are.”

Jonathan Gullis MP, who beat Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth in December to become the new parliamentary representative for Stoke North, said Palestinian children grow up in an environment of “institutionalised radicalisation”.

John Howell, MP for Henley, said Palestinians lived in a context of “continuous incitement,” adding: “Since the Oslo Accords of 1993, instead of educating its people towards peaceful coexistence with Israel, the Palestinian leadership has radicalised a new generation… Many are intent on harming Israelis and Jews.”

Smith added that Palestinian children were “among the most desperate youth in the world,” saying: “If anybody thinks textbooks are the primary reason why Palestinian children are being radicalised, they are not paying attention to the wider context.”

During the debate, several Conservative and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MPs referenced a report on the subject by Israeli group IMPACT-se, which is headed by UK-born Marcus Sheff, who previously ran The Israel Project (TIP).

However Labour’s Alex Norris reminded the House that the former Conservative MP Alistair Burt reviewed the report when he was Middle East Minister, concluding that it was “not objective in its findings and lacked methodological rigour”.

James Cleverly MP, the current Middle East Minister, said Boris Johnson’s government takes the allegations in the IMPACT-se report seriously, adding that they are contested by the Palestinian Authority.

“We need to encourage change and support improvement in the Palestinian Authority, and an independent review will help to underpin that,” said Cleverly.

“I am pleased to confirm that the Palestinian Education Minister is leading a review into the content of school textbooks, which will be completed in time for the start of the next academic year in September.

“He has committed that his team are taking into consideration the feedback from a range of sources, both domestic and international, and we seek to support that.”

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