A Labour MP has called for the Government to stop paying Palestinian teachers over concerns that children in the West Bank are being taught incitement against Israel.
Dame Louise Ellman MP, who is the vice-chair of Labour Friends of Israel, presented a Ten-Minute Rule Bill in parliament on Tuesday arguing that British taxpayers are funding the teaching of a curriculum that preaches martyrdom and jihad.
The Bill is supported by a handful of MPs, including Conservative Friends of Israel chair Stephen Crabb, and LFI director Jennifer Gerber said it was being pushed because the Government had “failed to act” on concerns.
UK aid helps 24,000 children in the West Bank attend school but LFI chair Joan Ryan MP has called for the UK to cut its aid to Palestinians by 14 percent, and led a parliamentary debate on the topic in June last year.
In it, she alleged that “children of ten are asked to calculate the number of martyrs in Palestinian uprisings in a maths textbook” and “children of eleven are taught that martyrdom and jihad are the most important meanings of life”.
A Memorandum of Understanding between the UK and the Palestinian Authority (PA) requires the PA to “take action against incitement to violence, including addressing allegations of incitement in textbooks” introduced in 2016.
Middle East Minister Alistair Burt said concerns are raised “directly” with Palestinian education chiefs and that an independent review of Palestinian textbooks, conducted jointly with other international donors, is due to be completed by September.
However Gerber accused the Government of unnecessary delays, saying: “Despite being warned over 18 months ago about the content of these lessons in hatred, UK taxpayers continue to fund a curriculum that does nothing to promote peace. It is high time ministers stopped dragging their feet and took a stand.”