Thursday, May 23, 2019

Is the EU going to investigate Palestinian textbooks? it tells Arab media something different than it tells the Europeans

Last week I reported on an answer that the EU provided to a question about Palestinian textbooks:

It can be confirmed that an academic study on Palestinian school text books is planned. Necessary funds have been reserved in the 2019 budget.

The study shall be carried out by an independent and internationally recognised research institute. Terms of Reference for the study are currently being prepared with a view to identifying possible incitement to hatred and violence and any possible lack of compliance with Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) standards of peace and tolerance in education.

The study shall provide for a comprehensive analysis of the current Palestinian text books. The work on the study is indicatively scheduled to start in spring 2019.

Incitement to violence is fundamentally incompatible with advancing a peaceful two-state solution and is greatly exacerbating mistrust between the communities, as already pointed out in the report of the Middle East Quartet of 1 July 2016(1). The EU has therefore repeatedly discussed this issue with the two parties.
Arab news site Ma'an, however, received what seems like a different answer from the EU:
The European Union has said that it has not initiated any study on the content of the Palestinian curriculum and that the allegations of incitement to violence in Israel and Palestine are discussed regularly with the parties.

Asharq al-Awsat also seemed to get mixed messages, where they report that the EU says that it is not initiating any study about the Palestinian curricula. In the next sentence the EU office in Jerusalem is quoted as saying that “there is an intention to conduct an academic study that is meant to provide an objective and comprehensive study of the current Palestinian school books”. Then the statement goes on to say: “This proposed independent academic study of Palestinian school books – in case it is conducted – will assist in examining the Palestinian school books in line with international criteria, for example the criteria of UNESCO about peace and tolerance and non-violence in education."

The headline in Asharq al-Awsat says that the EU will "review" the textbooks, not "investigate" them.

When speaking to the Europeans, it is a plan, with funding and a schedule. To Arabs, it is merely a possibility being discussed that might not even happen.

Which is the truth? Given the support for terror in the newest schoolbooks, which have probably been funded by the EU, this is a very important question.

(h/t Ibn Boutros)

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