In light of COVID-19, Palestinian Authority schools have been shutdown and are now adapting lessons and chapters from their hardcopy textbooks to online settings such as videos and Facebook posts for children and parents to access, a report from the education monitoring organisation IMPACT-SE reveals.
Anti-Israel and antisemitic indoctrination has been been inherent in the Palestinian Authority’s education system for some time now, ranging from depicting murders of Jews in school plays, to justifying violence against IDF soldiers in textbooks.
The textbooks include the glorification of violence, martyrdom and jihad. IMPACT-SE states that the transition to online has made these representations even more graphic than before.
In March, former school teacher and new MP Jonathan Gullis led his first Westminster Hall debate on the subject of radicalisation within the Palestinian school curriculum. 20 Conservative MPs were in attendance in the debate, which focused on concerns about the content of the Palestinian Authority’s school textbooks which contain incitement of hatred, martyrdom, and violence towards Israelis.
The debate followed an exposé in the Daily Mail at the start of the year, which laid bare the disturbing content of textbooks, and MPs have raised the issue on numerous occasions in the House of Commons in recent years.
IMPACT-SE has documented how Palestinian educators have been teaching traditional subjects through the lense of jihad. For example, last month, Nasser Al-Rajabi, a Palestinian Authority Arabic teacher at the Wasyah Al-Rasoul elementary School for boys in Hebron, posted an Arabic reading comprehension video on his Youtube channel.
The video shows a grammar lesson from PA’s Arabic language textbook, which looks at and glorifies Dalal al-Mughrabi, the perpetrator of the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre, which killed 38 Israeli civilians, including thirteen children. The video depicts Mughrabi holding a rifle on a hijacked Israeli civilian bus with what appears to be a murdered Israeli woman on the bus floor next to a Palestinian flag. The text on the screen, taken from the textbook reads: “She took out of her bag the flag of Palestine, kissed it and then hanged it inside the bus’.
Teacher Al-Rajabi encouraged the murder of Israelis, citing the massacre as “the suicide operation that caused the deaths of many of the Occupation’s soldiers”.
On Facebook, a similar pattern of extremist violent rhetoric is exposed. Fahmeh Girls’ Secondary School’s Facebook page posted videos of language lessons where singular and plural nouns were the focus. However, the words used to teach this included “dead person”, “injured person” and “roadblock”.
The YouTube channel of Osama Radi, a Gaza based science teacher and professor, has over three million views. It is now being used by many PA schools official Facebook pages and by students in the West Bank and Gaza.
In one of the videos, Radi teaches Newton’s Laws through violent imagery and subliminal violent messaging.
“Today our class will be about Newton’s Second Law, which is in the third unit. Enjoy. The lesson starts with an activity, which deals with Palestinian youths who used slingshots to confront the soldiers of the Zionist Occupation and defend themselves from their treacherous bullets,” Radi said.
In another video on the same Youtube channel, the image of a Palestinian with a slingshot and fire in the background along with a short passage about the First Intifada is presented followed by a Q&A as an example to teach about power, mass, and tensile strength of a stone released from a slingshot.
Images of young students acting out such a violent act were posted on the official Facebook page of the Palestinian Authority’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Secondary School for Boys in the Ramallah district last October.
IMPACT-SE is a research, policy and advocacy organisation that monitors and analyses education.