The Palestinian Authority's Education Ministry approved the use of a history textbook that offers the central narratives of both Palestinians and the Zionist movement, marking the first time that the accepted Israeli position is being presented to schoolchildren in the West Bank.Any news story that would make Palestinian Arabs look more liberal than Israelis would be a huge PR victory; a devastating riposte to those who contrast the openness and liberalism in Israel and the hate and intolerance in the PA administered territories.
The textbook, which has been banned from use by the Israeli Education Ministry, is the result of a joint Israeli-Palestinian-Swedish collaboration to promote coexistence through education. It will be taught in two high schools near Jericho, the Palestinian Education Ministry said.
Next week, the Education Ministry is scheduled to summon the principal of a Sderot area high school for "clarification" after he had permitted the use of the textbook by students in a special supplementary educational course.
Aharon Rothstein, the head of the Sha'ar Hanegev high school, may be reprimanded for allowing students to reference a textbook entitled "Learning the Historical Narrative of the Other," a project initiated by Prof. Dan Bar-On of Ben-Gurion University and Prof. Sami Adwan of Bethlehem University.
"Unfortunately, the Palestinians are further along than the Israeli Education Ministry when it comes to acknowledging the other side of the conflict," said an official involved in administering the textbook in the Sha'ar Hanegev school. "While [the Palestinians] approved the project, here they are summoning the principal for clarifications. This is a highly embarrassing situation."
So, predictably, the PA threw it all away:
A Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education official denied on Monday approving a textbook which teaches schoolchildren the Zionist and Palestinian narrative.The PA had a choice to win a huge propaganda victory - or let some of their high school kids learn the Zionist narrative along with their own. The thought of teaching anything remotely resembling Zionism was so repulsive that they'd rather throw it all away.
A member of the PA ministry's curriculum committee Thwarwat Zaid rebuffed a report in Israeli daily Haaretz that the textbook had been approved and said the committee neither knew of the book nor read it.
(to be continued - what Israel needs to teach)
UPDATE: See also my posts on the textbook itself.