Switzerland investigating reports that Palestinian textbooks promote violence, racism

Published By ITCT News Desk On : January 9, 2019
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Images featured in Palestinian Authority textbooks reviewed by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se). Photo: IMPACT-se.

Switzerland: The Swiss government will review reports that the Palestinian curriculum promotes violence, antisemitism, and other themes that undermine a two-state solution to the conflict with Israel, the SonntagsZeitung newspaper reported on Saturday.

The decision came in the wake of research published last year by the Jerusalem-based Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), which examined textbooks used by the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and eastern parts of Jerusalem.

Lessons encourage children to view the entirety of Israel as Arab territory, refer to Israelis and Jews interchangeably and with hostility, and “feature a radical Islamist, and occasionally, a Salafi worldview.” Some passages also hail those who carried out attacks against civilians, among them Dalal Mughrabi, a Palestinian nationalist who in 1978 helped massacre 38 people, including 13 children, near Tel Aviv.

“School materials that run contrary to the spirit of a two-state solution, which glorify violence, which fuel racism and anti-Semitism or trivialize violations of international law and human rights are not in compliance with the Swiss position on the Middle East,” a spokeswoman for the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (EDA) told SonntagsZeitung. “Switzerland will examine reports such as those by IMPACT-se and discuss them with other donor nations.”

Switzerland is a donor to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), which uses the textbooks studied by IMPACT-se in its schools.

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