PA matriculation exams incite hatred of Israel

Although new Palestinian textbooks supposedly promote tolerance, the tests to graduate high school reflect the same old hateful messages.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

An international research and policy institute has revealed for the first time the contents of Palestinian matriculation exams that prove that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is still promoting incitement and hatred of Israel to its student body.

The Israeli branch of the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se) used as its benchmark the United Nations’ standards for such education. It found that three quarters of the matriculation tests in language and the humanities (six out of eight) contained questions that supported violence or erased Israel from the Middle East.

In the Arab language test, for example, the students were asked about a poem called “A Refugee’s Will,” which glorified the armed struggle against Israel to liberate all of “Palestine.” The study material explained that when the poem mentions “weapons in hand,” it symbolizes “that what was taken by force can only be recovered by force.”

The geography exam did not have “Israel” as one of the choices of countries that border the Jordan River basin, while the history test demonized the Jewish state. For example, the answers the students learned in the preparatory material about the Arab Spring said that the widespread demonstrations that occurred in much of the Arab world in the early 2010s against their oppressive regimes were a “Western-Zionist” plot to destabilize Arab unity.

Israel is referred to as the “Zionist Occupation,” the report said, that “will disappear as the fog over the sea.”

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Twenty-six exams were reviewed altogether along with the teaching presentations from official ministry websites, and not one had content that promoted peace with Israel, non-violence or acceptance of the other.

This was not a surprising result to IMPACT-se, as already in September, the organization had issued a report on a new curriculum that the PA had put in place over the last three years. The researchers found that “selected positive content about peace, relations with Israel, and Jewish historical presence previously in the Palestinian school curriculum between 2000 and 2016,” had all been removed.

This was “a quantum leap backward toward radicalizing the textbooks – and unfortunately – Palestinian schoolchildren,” that report said.

“Palestinian students go through 12 years of radical education, starting in the first grade, when they are asked to learn the Arabic letter ‘h’ from the words ‘shahid’ and ‘hujum’ [attack], and through the 12th grade, with its messages of extremism and violent struggle,” said IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff upon the release of this latest report.