What Did You Study In School Today, Palestinian Child?

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Article/book #: 6297
Title: What Did You Study In School Today, Palestinian Child?
By: Akiva Eldar  
Published in: Ha’aretz
Date of issue: Tuesday, 2 January 2001
Topic(s) addressed: People/entities mentioned in this item:
Commentary (by JB):

In case any visitor is disinclined to believe this Ha'aretz article because its text has been retrieved from a PLO site, we provide the following information about an alternative source: the article is available for purchase, for $2.50, from the Ha'aretz archive, where it has article number 867667.

Itamar Marcus, who runs the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace (CMIP), will be speaking about how Palestinians perceive Jews. In recent years Marcus has been making a living translating and disseminating defamatory communications against Israel, extracted by his staff from Palestinian publications. Marcus, a settler, used to work for David Bar Illan, Benjamin Netanyahu's PR chief, and served on the Joint Israeli Palestinian Anti-Incitement Committee. Marcus's center routinely feeds the media with excerpts from "Palestinian" textbooks that call for Israel's annihilation. He doesn't bother to point out that the texts quoted in fact come from Egypt and Jordan.

In an executive summary he published for Thursday's seminar, Marcus makes a report of the 14 new textbooks published by the PA's "Center for Developing the Palestinian Curricula," replacing the old books. Marcus concedes there were "a few changes," like the fact that "The open calls for Israel's destruction found in the previous books are no longer present" and that "references defining Jews and Israelis as 'treacherous' or 'the evil enemy,' common in the previous books, are likewise not present." But this, to Marcus, is not enough. He complains that the new books "continue to teach non-recognition of Israel," and that the maps portray greater Palestine, with no boundaries separating the territories and Israel (just like the official textbooks and maps used by most Israeli institutions).

"A chapter in 'National Education for Grade Six' is dedicated to 'Tolerance.' Yet the PA schoolbook does not mention Jews or Israelis in the entire chapter. A prominent picture shows a Christian shaking hands with a Muslim," Marcus complains.

Firer's co- researcher, Prof. Sami Adwan, of Bethlehem University, can't make up his mind whether to laugh or cry at Marcus's grievances. "How does he expect my child to interpret a Jew's handshake, the same hand that causes my child daily suffering. Textbooks become a dead letter if the message is too far removed from reality. The teacher has to be able to answer a child's question, 'Why should I love Israelis?' Can your textbooks decree that you must love Germans? I know it isn't the same, but suffering is suffering. What am I supposed to tell my kids after settlers attack us on the way to visit their 85-year- old grandfather? Kids can't be duped."

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